Community Recovery

Below is a link to information issued after the fires around Uki in 2019.

Community Recovery Information

Information sheet on replacement of used water by the RFS after a bush fire.

Fire Fighting and Water Replacement

Burns, Asthma & Smoke Inhalation.

First Aid for Burns

The first priority in managing a burn is to stop the burning process, cool the burn (which will provide pain relief) and cover the burn.
Ensure safety of both the rescuers and bystanders from dangers such as flames and smoke.
Do not enter a burning or toxic atmosphere without appropriate protection.
Move the casualty to a safe environment as quickly as possible.
Stop the burning process—stop, drop, roll and cover:
Smother the flames with a fire blanket or blanket-Move away from the burn source-Cool the area with water preferably, if no water is available use a hydrogel product (such as burnaid)
Assess airway and breathing immediately.
Wherever possible remove jewellery, watches and clothing from the burnt area.
DO NOT—peel off clothing stuck to the burn, use ice or ice water, break blisters or use ointments, creams or powders.
Where possible elevate the limb to reduce swelling.
Cover the area lightly with a non-stick dressing.
All infants or children with burns should be medically assessed.

How to treat smoke inhalation

Although many people associate fire casualties with heat and flames, smoke inhalation is actually the leading cause of death among those who get caught in fires.

Dizziness and confusion
Nausea or vomiting
Visible signs of ash and smoke around the mouth and nose
Grey or black saliva
Chest pain or tightness
Irregular breathing
Wheezing, shortness of breath or hoarse voice
Blurred vision
Numbness or tingling in the extremities
Burns inside the mouth, throat or nose


1. Get the person to safety and into fresh air if it is safe for you to do so.*
2. If someone is showing the above symptoms you should call 000.
3. If conscious: sit the person down or lay them on their side.
4. If alert ask the person whether they have any medical conditions.
5. If they are not breathing perform CPR.
6. Ensure the person seeks medical attention to be assessed for more serious health implications. If left untreated, severe smoke inhalation can be fatal due to complications.

*Note: If it is safe to move someone to safety, filter the smoke for both you and the casualty with a P2 mask or cloth (cloth nappy or muslin work well).

Treating smoke inhalation in someone who has asthma

People with asthma may have a more severe reaction to smoke inhalation than other people. If the person is conscious apply the following plan.
Asthma First Aid Plan
Step 1:
Sit the person comfortably upright. Be calm and reassuring. Do not leave the person alone.
Step 2:
Without delay give four separate puffs of a “reliever”. The medication is best given one puff at a time via a spacer device. If a spacer is not available, simply use the puffer.
Ask the person to take four breaths from the spacer after each puff of medication.
Use the victim’s own inhaler if possible. If not, use the first aid kit inhaler if available or borrow one from someone else.
The first aid rescuer should provide assistance with administration of a reliever if required.
Step 3:
Wait four minutes. If there is little or no improvement give another four puffs.
Step 4:
If there is still no improvement, call an ambulance immediately. Keep giving four puffs every four minutes until the ambulance arrives.

Note: If someone is showing signs of a severe asthma attack you should call an ambulance immediately and follow this Asthma First Aid Plan until they arrive.
For more information about asthma read Asthma attack onset: learning to know the signs and symptoms.


For all medical emergencies dial Triple Zero (000) immediately and ask for Ambulance.

Burns can cause extreme pain and scarring. Learn how to minimise the risk of burns by following this simple advice.

Preventing Burns

Check bath water before placing a child in the bath to ensure it is a safe temperature.
Do not smoke around children but if you do, always make sure cigarettes are extinguished.
Never leave children alone in a bath.
Install fire guards on open fires and heaters.
Keep hot liquids out of children’s reach. A hot cup of coffee or tea can cause severe burns.
Dress children in garments marked ‘Low Fire Danger’ and avoid loose fitting clothes.
Do not leave saucepan handles hanging over the edge of a stove.
Never leave fires or heaters unattended.
Never leave children unattended in a room with a fire.
Have fire extinguishers and fire blankets easily accessible in the house.
Develop a simple fire escape plan for your household and make sure it is displayed in a prominent position.
Teach children fire safety from an early age.
Install and regularly check smoke detectors.

If a person is burnt

Dial Triple Zero (000) immediately and ask for Ambulance.
Cool the burn area constantly with plenty of cool running water while waiting for the Ambulance.
This should be done for no less than 20 minutes.
DO NOT apply ointment, cream or butter to the affected area.
If possible remove rings and jewellery from burn areas.

First steps when a burn happens

A burn is an injury to the skin from something hot – a heater, oven, hot drink or boiling water in a kettle or saucepan. Scalds are the most common burn among children. They’re caused by hot liquids.
If your child gets a burn or scald, first make sure the area is safe and there is no risk of further injury to your child or yourself. Take your child to a safe place if possible.
If the burn or scald is over your child’s clothing, remove the clothing immediately, if it isn’t stuck to the burn. Remove watches or jewellery. Leave any blisters alone.

First aid treatment

Treat the burn under running water for 20 minutes. Do this straight away. This treatment is still useful up to three hours after the burn.
Cool the burn, not the child. If the burn is large, stop cooling it after 20 minutes. This is because hypothermia can happen quickly in children.
Cover the burn with a loose, light, non-sticky dressing such as plastic wrap or a clean, wet cloth. Raise burned limbs.

When to get medical attention

Don’t apply ice, iced water, lotions, moisturisers, oil, ointments, creams or powders to the burn. Butter or flour can make the damage worse.
Call an ambulance if the burn is to your child’s face, airway, hands or genitals, or if the burn is larger than the size of your child’s hand.
Go to a doctor or hospital if the burn is the size of a 20-cent piece or larger, or if it’s deep, raw, angry or blistered. Also go if the pain persists or is severe, or you’re not sure how bad the burn is.

For all medical emergencies dial Triple Zero (000) immediately and ask for Ambulance

Health and Safety when Returning home after a bushfire

You  must be cautious when returning to your property. Check with local  emergency services that it is safe and that you have permission to  return.

Protective clothing

Put on protective clothing before entering your property:

  • Sturdy footwear and heavy-duty gloves.
  • Overalls with long sleeves and trousers (preferably disposable).
  • Special  face masks (called ‘P2’). Ordinary paper dust masks, handkerchiefs and  bandanas do not filter out fine ash or dusts or asbestos fibres.

Be alert to all hazards

If you have a septic tank, it may have been weakened so do not drive or walk over it.

Minimise  disturbance of dust and ash, which may contain hazardous materials. Do  not spread ash around, moisten it with water to minimise dust.

Be  alert for hazardous materials such as LPG cylinders, chemicals  (garden/farm), cleaning products, medicines and other burnt residues.

If  you are using portable generators make sure they are in a  well-ventilated area to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

There may also be overhead hazards such as falling trees and tree limbs, and live power lines.


Exposure  to asbestos fibres is only likely to occur when people actively disturb  ashes on properties built with asbestos-cement sheeting (buildings  built before 1990).

If asbestos is likely to be present, you must get a licensed asbestos removalist to do the clean-up work.

Ash from treated timber

CCA-treated  wood is commonly used in decking, fencing and landscaping. After a  fire, the ash from this wood contains copper, chromium and arsenic. This  ash can be harmful; keep children and pets away. Seek advice from your  local council on ash disposal.

Rainwater tanks

The  risk to human health is low from contaminated rainwater tanks in  bushfire-affected areas. However, if fire-fighting foams have entered  your tank, do not drink the water and do not give it to pets to drink.

If  your rainwater tank is intact and the water has no abnormal look,  smells or taste, it should be safe to use. It is safest to boil  untreated water that you plan to drink. If the rainwater looks, smells  or tastes unusual, assume it is contaminated and don’t drink it or use  it for cooking, or preparing food.

Check your roof and guttering  for ash, debris and animal carcasses. Remove them as soon as possible to  avoid contaminants getting flushed into your tank.

If your  rainwater has been contaminated, drain the tank and allow it to refill  with clean rainwater or fill it with water from a registered water  carter.

For more information visit

Food safety

Throw  away all perishable food if the power has been off for more than a day.  For shorter outages, if food is still cold to touch (less than 50C) it is safe to use.

Once cold or frozen food has warmed or thawed, it should be thrown out.

Cleaning your property

Wear adequate protective clothing when handling debris outside.

Smoke and soot in the home

Open  all doors and windows to ventilate your home to help remove any smoke  odour. Hard surfaces (furniture, walls and floors) can be washed with  mild soap or detergent and water. Soft furniture and bedding can be  aired outside.


Clothes that smell  of smoke and clothes that had been left on the clothes line should be  washed normally and dried outside. Rewashing of clothes ensures  sensitive skin is protected from soot, particles and ash.

Smoke and your health

Smoke  may still be present in your area following a bushfire and may last for  up to two weeks if there is no wind to clear the air.

Air pollution

High smoke levels may cause or worsen breathing (respiratory) problems for some people.

Those  most at risk are children, the elderly, smokers and people with  pre-existing heart and lung diseases, including asthma. These people  should avoid unnecessary travel to affected areas.

What you should do

There are a number of steps you can take to protect your health:

  • Follow your asthma action plan or your individual health plan.
  • Avoid physical activity outdoors.
  • Stay indoors with windows and doors closed where possible.
  • Switch air conditioners to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’.
  • When indoors, minimise other sources of air pollution such as tobacco smoke and wood stoves.
  • If your home gets too smoky or hot for comfort, consider going somewhere with less smoke or with air conditioning.

Keeping track of the smoke

Check the smoke particle levels in your area through the Environment Protection Authority’s real-time air quality data

Air quality notifications are activated when smoke levels are high in an area for just one hour.

You can see when an air quality notification is active in your area and follow the recommended precautions

You can download the free AirRater app to keep track of air quality in your area.

Further information

Contact  Public Health Services for further advice about possible hazards, the  health effects of smoke, current air quality and further factsheets.

Phone 1800 671 738, email or visit

This page is produced by the Department of Health

Dehydration / Heat Exhaustion / Heat Stroke

Dehydration – Seek medical advice if symptoms don’t improve or are severe

Mild to severe thirst (remember that thirst is satisfied before fluid loss is fully replaced).
Dry lips and tongue.
Slowed mental function and lowered performance.
Reduced or dark urine output.

First aid for dehydration

Drink water. Avoid caffeinated, carbonated and alcoholic drinks, and salt tablets.
Loosen tight clothing and remove unnecessary clothing, including Personal Protective Equipment [PPE].
In cases of extreme heat or dehydration, replace electrolytes.

Heat rash – Seek medical advice if symptoms don’t improve

Itchy rash with small raised red spots on the face, neck, back, chest or thighs.

First aid for heat rash

Move to a cooler, less humid environment.
Keep the affected area dry and remove unnecessary clothing, including PPE.
Apply a cold compress.

Heat cramps – Seek medical advice if symptoms don’t improve

Painful and often incapacitating cramps in muscles, particularly when undertaking demanding physical work.

First aid for heat cramps

Stop activity and rest quietly in a cool place until recovered.
Drink an electrolyte solution.

Fainting – Seek medical advice

Fainting (heat syncope) can occur while standing or rising from a sitting position.

First aid for fainting

Lie the person flat immediately with their legs slightly raised.
Do not raise the head.
Treat as for heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion – Call an ambulance immediately

Symptoms (not all will be present)
Dehydration, thirst, and reduced or dark urine output.
Elevated body temperature.
Weakness or fatigue.
Headaches and dizziness.
Muscle cramps.
Severe symptoms:
The person stops sweating.
Cold, pale or clammy skin.
Clumsiness or slower reaction times.
Disorientation or impaired judgement.
Rapid or short breathing.
Rapid weak pulse or heart palpitations.
Tingling or numbness in fingers or toes.
Visual disturbance.
Vomiting or an unwillingness to drink.

First aid for heat exhaustion

Move the person to a cool place with circulating air.
Lie the person flat.
Remove unnecessary clothing, including PPE.
Loosen tight clothing.
If the person is fully conscious sit them up to facilitate drinking and provide cool – not cold – fluid to drink.
Provide an electrolyte solution or water.
Cool the person with cold compresses or apply cold water to skin.
Observe the person and obtain medical advice if symptoms don’t improve.
Seek medical assistance if there is no improvement or the first-aider is in doubt.

Heat stroke – Call an ambulance immediately

Symptoms (not all will be present)
The person stops sweating.
Skin can be pink, warm and dry, or cool and blue.
High body temperature above 39 degrees Celsius.
Pounding, rapid pulse.
Headache, dizziness and visual disturbances.
Nausea and/or vomiting.
Clumsiness or slower reaction times.
Disorientation or impaired judgement.
Irritability and mental confusion.
Collapse, seizures and unconsciousness.
Cardiac arrest. Can be characterised by unconsciousness, stopped breathing and no pulse

First aid for heat stroke

Call 000 and evacuate by ambulance immediately.
Ensure that the ambulance is updated if the person experiences seizures or becomes unconscious.
If cardiac arrest occurs follow DRSABCD action plan
Move the person to a cool place with circulating air.
Remove unnecessary clothing, including PPE
Loosen tight clothing.
Cool the person by splashing room temperature water on their skin or sponging their skin with a damp cloth.
Make a wind tunnel by suspending sheets around, not on, the person’s body. Use a fan to direct gentle airflow over the person’s body.
Apply cold packs or wrapped ice to the person’s neck, groin and armpits.
If the person is fully conscious sit them up to facilitate drinking and provide cool – not cold – fluid to drink.
Provide an electrolyte solution with sugar. Do not attempt to give oral fluid if the person is not fully conscious.
Shivering is an automatic muscular reaction which warms the body. It will make the body temperature rise even further. If the person starts shivering, stop cooling immediately and cover them until they stop. Once they have stopped recommence first aid treatment.
Related materials

Guidance material: Guide for managing the risks of working in heat