Who am I?
I am the founder of this Volunteer Organisation and a Registered Nurse of 40 years currently working in a GP Clinic. Daily I am receiving information from “Northern NSW Primary Health Care”, (Information to Health Workers in General Practice Clinics). I am also researching and keeping up to date with the Medical Experts and Scientists in regard to COVID-19. This following information is based on that information.
PANDEMIC PLAN: Don’t Panic, Don’t be Complacent. Prepare, prepare, prepare…..

1. If you or your family become infected and have mild symptoms. Why? To prevent spreading it.
2. If you are one of the vulnerable and at risk of getting very sick: elderly, have Chronic Disease, are Immunocompromised, are of Aboriginal/Torres Strait background or a combination of these. Why? To avoid getting the Virus and needing Hospitalising. This group is not only the most vulnerable but may have to avoid public places for months.

INDIVIDUALS and FAMILIES: Stay Informed and get the facts.
The COVID-19 is here, our best hope is to slow its spread so that the Health Sector can cope with those that need hospitalisation and Intensive Care. We DO NOT want to become like ITALY. Most of us are likely to get the Virus over the next months and have minor illnesses. We need to protect the vulnerable against the Virus and have resources available for the usual urgent treatment required by the general public that occurs every day. It could be you or the family that need this assistance, so we need the beds available.
Google: NSW Health, Tweed Council Dashboard, Smart Traveller.
Podcast: Corona Cast.
Hygiene: Coughing/sneezing , etiquette frequent thorough hand washing, hand sanitisers when out and about. eg. before you handle and eat that food in the food court after you have just touched the toilet door handle. THINK.
Distancing: Avoid touching others and being in crowds. Keep at least 1.5 metres between others where possible. Avoid group travel and public transport. Air Conditioning and close contact spread bugs.
Increase your Immunity: Vitamin D & C. ( Scientific evidence supports this).
Avoid preventable secondary infections:
1. Fluvax NB: this will not prevent you getting every Influenza virus but may stop you getting a bad one, (Available mid to late April).

Pneumovax NB: free to over 65 and under 65’s who have Chronic Diseases or are Immunocompromised or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, (Booster for these groups after 5 years, available now through your GP). The Pneumovax does not protect against Viral Pneumonias or every Bacterial Pneumonia, however it is another level of protection for the vulnerable.
You want to avoid a Double Whammy and Secondary Infection. Remember after any Immunisation, your body takes two weeks to create Antibodies and fully protect against ONLY the organisms in the vaccine. So the sooner the better. COVID-19: Know the symptoms. (Fever over 37.8, Dry Cough, Sore Throat). Level of sickness varies from person to person. If you have symptoms a) Isolate at home, b) Ring your GP and follow advice. REMEMBER, some people are spreading the virus and have NO or VERY MILD symptoms. If you are positive for COVID-19. c) Follow medical advice. d) If asked to isolate at home, do so. Why? To protect the vulnerable in the community. e) If you have others living with you, they will likely also be infected or will become so. Therefore the whole family needs to isolate at home. Current recommendations are 14 days. Once you have had the virus, you are most likely Immune from getting it again (Because your body has created Antibodies).

Preparing for Self Isolation:

  • Two-three weeks of non perishable food.
  • Basic toiletries and cleaning products to last.
  • First-Aid kit and other Emergency equipment.
  • Extra medications that may be needed.

Remember: Some Supermarkets do home deliveries, as do Chemists.

KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOUR: Many in the community have no Internet or lack the skills to fully utilise it. An “At Risk” neighbour may be self isolating to protect themselves.
Phone, drop some groceries at their door, organise a delivery of food from the Supermarket.
Theres a lot we can do for each other with reduced physical contact as we live in the age of digital communication.
Talk to your manager about the Workplace Pandemic Plan. Create one and have regular staff meetings.
What is the policy about: Hygiene, sick leave, remote work if possible, surviving loss of income, protecting each other.
We all wish this wasn’t happening and it’s not yet tangible like the smoke haze we recently experienced. But it’s very real and having knowledge and a plan reduces anxiety.
Most of us will be OK. We all know someone who may not. Talk to them, help them understand and prepare to stay safe (by avoiding people).
We are a Community, lets behave like one.

Living with Prolonged Stress.

Managing prolonged stress during the Fire Season: Written by Karen Challand Registered Nurse.

The more prepared we are, the more we feel in control and
the less fear and anxiety we have.

Stay informed.
Put into place your “Bush Fire Survival Plan”. Know what you will do and if the decision is to evacuate, leave early.
Complete your Property Preparation, what to take if evacuating and a plan for your animals.

We are told this Fire Season could last for weeks or months. How do we cope?
When local fire activity is low, we prepare, stay informed and get on with living as normally as possible. This includes fun and relaxation. Normality will help reduce anxiety.
Constantly tuning in to fire activity that is not impacting on us or loved ones directly, can feed our anxiety and create inaction and indecision. While this may be manageable over a short period of time, prolonged anxiety and stress impacts mental health.
Action reduces stress. Distraction reduces stress.
Find what helps you recharge mentally and physically.
If you feel unable to cope, are constantly fearful, stressed or anxious, then contact your GP or one of the following organisations for professional help:
NSW Mental Health Help Line: 1800 011 511
Rural Adversity Mental Health (RAMHP):
Healthy Minds Counselling 8.30 am to 5.00 pm Mon to Friday: 1300 160 335
Mensline: 1300 789 978 Lifeline: 13 11 14 Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800 Kids Anxiety:
Fire Impact Victims: Connect to Wellbeing: 1300 160 339

When Bush Fire Alert levels change on an existing Fire or a new Fire is in your area, become vigilant and enact your plan.

If you have prepared as outlined above, you know what to do. Do not become indecisive.
Decisiveness reduces anxiety.

When you are satisfied that the fire in your area is downgraded to “ADVICE” and there is no immediate danger, stay up to date in case the situation changes.
Start living as normally as you can.

The Unfortunate New Normal.
The changing fire activity could see our lives being stressful one day and less so the next. As destabilising as this is, we need to find ways to manage this and adapt as changes occur.

When there is No Fire, Alert Level is “ADVICE” on a local fire, or smoke is from fires some distance away:
Live as normally as you can, when you can. Have some fun and reduce stress. Enjoy time with family and friends.
Enjoy some “self care”.
Accept help when offered.
Help others. This takes us out of ourselves and changes our focus.
Feeling part of a community with common goals helps build our confidence and resilience.

"Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once.  
Breathe. You're strong. You got this. Take it day by day."
Karen Salmansohn

Anxiety and Children

Bushfires can make kids scared and anxious: here are 5 steps to help them cope

More than 600 schools have been closed, and some damaged,  in recent days as bushfires rage across Queensland and New South Wales.  Some students have been urgently evacuated while in school. People have  lost homes and animals and are experiencing significant distress.

Research shows somewhere between 7% and 45% of children suffer depression after experiencing a natural  disaster. Children more at risk of depression include those who were  trapped during the event; experienced injury, fear, or bereavement;  witnessed injury or death; and had poor social support.

The  Victorian Education Department commissioned us after the 2009 Black  Saturday fires to train teachers in seven fire-affected regions in  methods to foster resilience in children.

Teachers told us their  students had experienced distressing emotions including high anxiety,  fear and even panic during the event. Comments from teachers included:

Their world had changed forever; they became more fearful.Some children were very frightened and for a long time stayed close to their parents.Many children became scared and anxious about worldwide issues.Their anxiety was triggered by the smell of smoke, a fire engine’s siren or a foggy day.

The  teachers we interviewed also noted children’s profound sense of loss  (of their homes, pets and livestock). Many students knew someone who had  lost a family member or friend.

One teacher said:

The fires opened students’ eyes to what a disaster is. Not just something you see on TV.

We trained teachers using our Bounce Back program – a research-based social and emotional learning program first published in 2003. Most children are resilient and will bounce back quickly. Only a small minority may be at risk of ongoing anxiety and there are ways to minimise that risk.

How to help kids cope now

Try to stay calm and reassuring. Children take cues from the adults in their lives. If adults show fear and nervousness, children tend to mirror these emotions.

Try  to focus on the small positives such as “we are all safe”. You can list  the things that haven’t changed, such as your children’s friends.  Reassure them other people such as family, friends, teachers and their  community will help and that life will return to normal.

Everyone  feels sad, anxious or upset when a bushfire burns near their home. By  helping your child name their feeling, you are helping them feel more in  control. Here are five steps to encourage your children to do this:

  1. take notice when your child is feeling sad, frightened, angry or upset
  2. encourage your child to talk about what’s troubling them, and listen and show you understand how they are feeling
  3. name the emotion in words your child can understand – are they “worried”, “scared”, “a bit frightened” or “sad”?
  4. help your child understand it’s normal to feel that strong emotion and help them to sit with their feelings
  5. finish  with a hopeful or optimistic statement they can do something to help  make things feel better. This may include something physical (such as  going for a walk or throwing a basketball through a hoop), something  that creates positive feelings (like playing with a pet or friend, or  drawing), or doing something kind or helpful for someone else.

Resilience is the capacity to bounce back after hardship.

To help your child bounce back, you can communicate that:

  • life is mainly good but now and then everyone has a difficult or unhappy time
  • although  things aren’t good now and it might take a while to improve, it’s  important to stay hopeful and expect things to get better
  • you  will feel better and have more ideas about what to do if you talk to  someone you trust about what’s worrying or upsetting you
  • unhelpful thinking (“our family will never get a nice home again”) isn’t necessarily true and makes you feel worse
  • helpful  thinking (“it might take a while to get our home back again but it will  happen”) makes you feel better because it is more accurate and helps  you work out what to do.

Coping after the event

Children with strong emotional support, such as from family and friends, are better able to cope with adversity.

Friendships  may be disrupted after bushfires because of family relocations. Helping  children connect via social media or phone with friends can reduce  their sense of isolation.

Getting children back to school and regular routines can be one of the best ways to help their resilience.

Teachers are encouraged to allow time for children to talk about the bushfires and their feelings about them during class.

The  teachers who participated in the Bounce Back program after Black  Saturday explicitly taught children the skills for being optimistic and  resilient – such as to challenge their unhelpful thinking and understand  everybody, not just you, experiences setbacks sometimes.

They also taught kids skills for regulating their emotions and everyday courage to face their fears.

They  used circle-time discussions of picture books and media stories to  allow them to talk about their own experiences in a safe way.

We  held focus groups with children of different ages in five of the primary  schools that used our Bounce Back program. The children told us they:  “know now what to do when something goes wrong”; “focus on more  positives”; “don’t think the worst now”; “know things change”; “have  learnt that sometimes you just have to put up with it”; and “now feel  it’s easier to get back up in bad times”.

While a disaster can be  challenging for children, a supportive home and school environment,  together with coping skills, can help children recover reasonably  quickly and get back to normal life.

Toni Noble, Adjunct Professor, Institute for Positive Psychology & Education, Australian Catholic University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Article source:

Safety When in Fire

Extracted from my Essential Bushfire Safety Tips (CSIRO 2012),

Although data states that 2/3 of Black Saturday fatalities died while sheltering in or near their house, research by bushfire scientists revealed that they did not die BECAUSE they were sheltering. They died because they did not know how to shelter safely.

SO WHEN THE BUSHFIRE EMERGENCY MESSAGE IS “It is too Late to Leave, You Should Take Shelter and Stay Indoors” – WHAT SHOULD YOU ACTUALLY DO?


* Shelter behind a wall; beside a large fire resistant tree (that has no flammable undergrowth); in or beside a car; in a dam (if no vegetation is near either), in a ditch, (cover yourself with earth or blanket); crouch beneath a blankets (must be PURE WOOL) on bare ground or an already burnt area.


Before you go inside:

* Shut off gas and electricity at the mains.

* Put pets inside: dogs on leash, cats in covered cages.

* Take in outdoor furniture, doormats, hanging baskets, plastic pot plants.

When you are inside:

* Make sure all doors and windows are securely shut.

* Turn off air conditioners; cover their internal vents.

* If windows are unshuttered, cover with blankets (must be PURE WOOL), heavy quality quilts, foil or wet towels.

*Move flammable furniture away from windows.

* Close internal doors to limit fire spread if embers enter and ignite inside.

* Put on protective clothing and nose mask and drink often.

* Keep blankets (must be PURE WOOL) handy.

* Cool off when possible.

* Watch the conditions outside if possible through a small window or peephole. Do not open a door or window to look outside.

* When you are sure flaring shrubs have blackened, it’s safe to go out again. (Burning tree trunks do not generally emit killing radiant heat.)

* DO NOT SHELTER IN AN INNER ROOM. Not in the hallway. Not in the bath. If you shelter in ANY kind of inner room – no matter how many doors it has – you could be trapped. Embers may have ignited sub-floor or wall cavities or rafters in the ceiling space,. Flaming walls or ceiling could collapse on you. Toxic fumes from smouldering furnishings, synthetic furniture or wall linings could overcome you.

* STAY BY A DOOR THAT EXITS TO OUTSIDE in protective clothing and with blankets (must be PURE WOOL).

* It is vital for passive shelterers to exit as soon as the potentially killing radiant heat from fames has died down.


* Take hose, sprayers and ladder inside with you.

* Fill bath and troughs with water, immerse towels, roll up and place at door gaps and window ledges.

Plug keyholes with play dough, blue-tack or soap.

* Fill containers (e.g. garden sprayers) with water; put these, with dippers, mops etc, in each room.

* Watch for invading embers. Particularly in the ceiling space, through windows, gaps under doors.

Spray or hit with wet mop any sparks, embers or smouldering furnishings.

* If any ignition cannot be extinguished, close the door of that room.

* Maintain easy access to an exit door.

* Never go outside during a flame front to douse an outside ignition.


* Exit with great care, preferably from a door that is sheltered from the wind.

* Wear protective clothing and nose cover, cover yourself with your blanket (must be PURE WOOL), crouch, lower your eyelids and open the door gradually.

The quintessential bushfire survival resource is a HEAVY DUTY PURE WOOL BLANKET.

Covered with their blanket and with a flask of water people have withstood the most catastrophic conditions.

Extracted from my Essential Bushfire Safety Tips (CSIRO 2012),

(If you can’t afford to buy – most libraries have it.)

Bush Fire Smoke Alert

22 November 2019
Air quality across much of the south east corner of the state is still being affected by smoke, with conditions similar to yesterday (21-11-2019). The smoke levels still vary across regions within Queensland, with areas in the vicinity of active bushfires reporting poorer air quality and many areas have air quality below that which is normally experienced.
The associated health advice remains the same as Thursday (21-11-2019). People are urged to remain vigilant while fires continue to burn in communities across the state and it is important that vulnerable groups (children, elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic disease including those with respiratory issues) continue taking precautions to protect their health.
Rainwater tanks and bore water-holding tanks impacted by bushfires and other natural disasters are likely to contain harmful material. This is likely to mean the water stored in the affected tanks will not be suitable for normal use. For more information on how to restore rainwater tanks after a bushfire see Bushfire and roof-harvested rainwater (PDF 215 kB).

Protecting your health

The community is advised to remain alert to the levels of smoke from current bushfire conditions.
It is especially important for vulnerable people to remain vigilant in the current conditions. That includes:People with pre-existing lung or heart conditions should rest as much as possible and keep away from the smoke. Anyone with a heart or lung condition should follow the treatment plan advised by their doctor and keep at least five days’ supply of medication on hand.People with asthma should follow their personal asthma plan.
Assist your vulnerable family members, neighbours and friends. It is important to identify locations that have cleaner, filtered air-conditioned spaces (e.g. shopping centres, community centres, libraries etc).
If you are experiencing any adverse reactions to the dust or smoke, such as shortness of breath, prolonged coughing or wheezing, seek medical advice.
Stay up to date with local news reports. This advice may be varied as conditions change.
All air conditioners should be switched to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’ mode. If you do not have an air conditioner, take steps to reduce heat stress, especially for the very young, people who are unwell, or the elderly.
If there is a break in smoky conditions, take the opportunity to air out your home to improve indoor air quality and minimise other sources of air pollution, such as cigarette smoke
Considerations for the community include:Reduce outdoor activity if possible. If air quality is very poor, consider remaining indoors. If you are staying indoors, close all windows and doors and operate air-conditioners if available.Reduce vigorous exercise outside especially if you have asthma, diabetes, heart disease or a breathing related condition, and keep medication close by. If quality is very poor, consider avoiding vigorous exercise.
Schools and childcare centres should assess the risks of outdoor activities. Where air quality is very poor children should stay indoors in areas with air-conditioning and/or ceiling fans
Organisers of outdoor events should assess the risks and if the air quality is very poor consider postponing the event until air quality improves.
It is important to also stay hydrated by drinking water

Bushfire smoke – what is it?

Bushfire smoke is a mixture of different-sized particles, water vapour and gases, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. During bushfires and similar events, large amounts of finer particles are released that are small enough to breathe deep into the lungs and can cause adverse health effects.

More information
Contact your doctor, hospital or health clinic
Call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) at any time
Bushfire smoke and your health
Health advisory: Bushfire smoke warning 12 November 2019 (PDF 94 kB)
Check the air quality in your local area
Rainwater tanks affected by natural disasters (including bore-water tanks) (PDF 112 kB)
Bushfire and roof-harvested rainwater (PDF 212KB)