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Fire and emergency information

News Article Date: 
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
Relevant Files: 

Peat fire causing poor air quality

A peat fire located within the Terang fire continues to emit smoke, contributing to poor air quality in the surrounding local area. If residents are concerned about possible exposure to carbon monoxide, they can visit the Terang Civic Hall for a health assessment, or call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24 for medical advice. Call Triple Zero in an emergency.

Community Relief Fund

Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) has partnered with Bendigo Bank to establish a Community Relief Fund to support those affected by the fires. The fund aims to support communities across Colay-Otway, Corangamite, Warrnambool, Moyne, and Southern Grampians areas where the fires have destroyed homes and impacted primary producers.

https://www.communityenterprisefoundation.com.au/make-a-donation/appeals/south-west-victorian-bushfire-appeal

How can I help?

Since the fires began on Saturday March 17, local organisations have been overwhelmed with donations of goods and other generous offers of help. 

The best way to help those that have been affected is to donate needed much needed funds. There is no additional need for donations of household goods or clothes at this time. 

For a summary of the official South West Bushfire appeals and specific volunteering and donation needs please see attached the fact sheet on this page called "South West Fires – How to Help".

Support for farmers

Additional mental health support and livestock fodder is being offered to fire-affected farmers by the Victorian Govenrment.
 
The Victorian Government is partnering with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), funding $300,000 to carry out a fodder drive, where critical feed will be provided for affected farmers to address essential fodder needs.
 
Also announced is $100,000 for the ‘Look Over the Farm Gate’ program to extend mental health support for farming communities.
 
Financial support already announced for affected individuals in Colac-Otway, Corangamite, Moyne and Southern Grampians local government areas through the National Disaster Relief and Recovery effort includes:
· Personal Hardship Assistance Payments – to help meet immediate needs with payments of up to $540 per adult and $270 per child (up to a maximum of $1,890 per household), including emergency food, shelter, clothing, and personal items.
· Emergency Re-establishment Assistance – up to $40,700 per eligible household affected by fire at their primary place of residence. The grants are available for eligible clean-up, emergency accommodation, repairs, rebuilding (principal residence), and replacing some damaged contents.
 
To access this assistance call VicEmergency on 1800 226 226.
 
Agriculture Victoria regional staff are working with farmers by providing assistance with animal welfare concerns and technical support to manage farms that have been impacted by fires.
 
Agriculture Victoria is assessing damage, which will inform the need for additional assistance. Farmers seeking assistance or wishing to report livestock impacted by fires should call (03) 5336 6721. For more general agricultural advice on recovery after fire call the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
 
The Rural Financial Counselling Service is also available to farmers, offering free and independent financial support to primary producers and non-agriculture related small businesses. 
The Service can be contacted on 1300 735 578.
 
Assistance information can be found on the Vic Emergency website at www.emergency.vic.gov.au/relief

Returning home after a fire

  • See the Better Health Channel for key info on what to do to keep yourself and your family safe.
  • Check with your local emergency services that it is safe to return to your property.
  • Houses, sheds and other buildings or structures burnt in a bushfire can leave potential health hazards.
  • These may include fallen or sharp objects, smouldering coals, damaged electrical wires, leaking gas and weakened walls.
  • When returning to your property, make sure you are aware of the dangers and take steps to protect your health and safety.
  • Make sure you wear protective clothing before entering your property as hazardous material including asbestos may be present.
  • It is unsafe to spread ash around your property, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures, or if CCA-treated timber was burnt. It is also unsafe to disturb the dust when walking around your property.
  • If you have a septic tank, remember it may have been weakened in the fire so do not drive or walk over it.

Red Cross also provides great safety information about returning home after a bushfire.

Bushfire aftermath safety tips

Check with your local emergency services that it is safe to return to your property.

Hazardous materials that may be present after a bushfire include:

  • asbestos
  • ashes, especially from burnt treated timbers (such as copper chrome arsenate or ‘CCA’)
  • LPG gas cylinders
  • medication
  • garden chemicals
  • farm chemicals
  • other general chemicals (for example, cleaning products)
  • metal and other residues from burnt household appliances
  • dust.

If you are just visiting a property but not cleaning up, a protective kit can be worn to minimise exposure to airborne dust and other hazards from fire-damaged homes. Protective kits for bushfire-affected home owners are generally available from your local council.

If asbestos-containing materials have been burnt on your property or you are uncertain, a licensed asbestos removalist should be arranged to perform the clean-up work.

Visit the Better Health Channel for information about safety after a bushfire.

Bushfire and Ash

Ash from timber treated with a preservative call Copper chrome arsenate (or CCA) contains arsenic which is hazardous if swallowed by young children, pets or grazing animals. Check out what to do here.

If your home has been damaged by the fire or smells of smoke from bushfires, here’s some info for cleaning up a smoke-affected home.

If your home has been affected by smoke from a fire, it is possible that ash particles may still be present, even after the smoke has gone. Make sure you wear protective clothing and avoid getting ash in the air as much as possible.

Seek further advice from your local council on clean-up activities.

Bushfires and water tanks

If your area is affected by bushfires, your water source could become contaminated from debris, ash, fire retardants or dead animals.

Also, you should not source water from a creek that has been affected by bushfire as the water may be contaminated.

Water drawn from deep bores or wells should still be safe to use. If you suspect contamination, use an alternative water supply for drinking and food preparation.

Here’s some safety information on bushfire and water tanks.

 

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