Tuesday, January 7, 2020
The devastating bushfires across Australia have touched us all, we’re thinking of all those affected and the tireless work of firefighters and Emergency Services.
Making sure you are safe:
1. Air quality: Due to smoke blowing in from the Victorian bushfires, air quality across Bayside can be very poor at times. Keep up-to-date with local advice and air quality ratings with the EPA Airwatch. Additionally, read the health effects of exposure to bushfire smoke from the Chief Medical Officer and State and Territory Chief Health Officers'.
2. Rainwater tanks for drinking water: If you use rainwater tanks and can taste smoke, the taint alone is unlikely to be a health concern. However, if you are concerned about the taste of your rainwater, use bottled water for drinking and continue to use your rainwater for other uses. Head HERE for more information.
3. Travelling: If you are driving or travelling within Australia, make sure you’re aware of the conditions before you leave home. Stay informed while travelling. Listen to Victoria’s emergency broadcasters including ABC Local Radio and Sky News television along with select community radio stations and commercial radio stations. Keep informed of local conditions with VicEmergency and download the latest version of the VicEmergency app.
4. Other emergency services: Bayside City Council advises checking more than one service for emergency warnings. In addition to the above mentioned, you can check the CFA’s Facebook page and follow their Twitter feed @CFA_Updates or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) on 1800 240 667. If you have a hearing or speech impairment the number is 1800 555 677.
5. Look after yourself: If you require mental health counselling or support for mental health conditions triggered by the bushfires, you can contact Mental Health Foundation Australia.
6. Weather: A reminder to monitor the Bureau of Meteorology’s online weather warnings and to check for fire danger spikes.
7. Education: The Health.vic website has a number of bushfire fact sheets some of which are listed HERE along with critical information to help you prepare, keep you safe as well as information for after the fires have passed.
If you'd like to support people and animals affected by bushfires:
1. Donate money: Financial contributions are the best way to ensure communities in crisis are supported effectively, and relief centres are not overwhelmed. Donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal where 100 per cent of donations will go directly to communities in need.
2. Crafting: The Australian Rescue Craft Guild is calling out for pouches for injured wildlife. If you can help, you can download the simple pouch patterns from Animal Rescue Craft Guild on Facebook and drop them off to any Bayside library.
Please be aware Consumer Affairs Victoria has reported fake fundraisers are door knocking in Gippsland communities, requesting donations for bushfire relief. More information on fundraising scams and disaster advice is available online HERE.
Bayside City Council is working with the Municipal Association of Victoria on how best we can assist the bushfire-affected shires in East Gippsland and the North East; we have offered any resources they may need and will continue to keep you updated on our efforts to support communities affected by bushfires.