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): www.ramhp.com.au
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: www.youthbeyondblue.com
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, Dirt Girl

Videos by Dirt Girl – approx. 20 and 10 minutes.

How to talk to your kids about an emergency ❤️?❤️?❤️

How to talk to your kids about an emergency ❤️?❤️?❤️ABC Rural1 Million WomenAustralian Red CrossABC AustraliaCIFAL NewcastleCosta Georgiadis OfficialThe Climate CouncilNSW Rural Fire ServiceNSW RFS – Northern Rivers ZoneKinderling Kids RadioABC NewsABC North Coast ABC Mid North Coast ABC Central Coast ABC Central WestABC Radio Australia ABC Gold CoastKeep Australia BeautifulPlanet ArkKidspotGuardian AustraliaHuffington Post

Posted by dirtgirlworld on Sunday, November 10, 2019

How to talk to your kids about an emergency ❤️?❤️?❤️ABC Rural1 Million WomenAustralian Red CrossThe Climate Council NSW Rural Fire ServiceNSW RFS – Northern Rivers ZoneKinderling Kids RadioABC NewsABC North CoastABC Radio AustraliaInternational Composting Awareness Week AustraliaKidspotGuardian AustraliaHuffington Post Australia

Posted by dirtgirlworld on Sunday, November 10, 2019

We are living in a fire zone and have been on alert for months.  Tomorrow is a day we need to be prepared for. If you are living in a  fire zone too, I have written your kids a special letter.

Hi it’s dirtgirl here. 

 In dirtgirlworld today, like in so many places around Australia we are doing things to prepare for bushfire.
We have a drought in dirtgirlworld so it’s very very dry and hot here. Is it like that at your place too?
 I thought I’d share with you some ideas to keep us safe and calm if we are faced with a bushfire emergency.

 Living in the bush, Scrapboy, Costa the garden gnome and I have a very thorough fire plan to protect dirtgirlworld.

 Our gutters are cleared, we have raked and removed all the leaves  around dirtgirlworld, we have packed away all the garden tools and moved  the firewood and compost and mulch away from our houses.
We also  have a plan that we will follow to protect ourselves and our animal  friends.We know that the most important thing is being safe

When  there is an emergency, so much can happen at once and it can be scary. A  Bushfire is really noisy, it smells strongly of smoke , the world feels  very very hot and sometimes it can get very dark. Often there are  sparks and embers.

 Not being near a bushfire is the best idea but sometimes we are surprised by bushfire.
If that happens here’s some of my top tips for what to do in a bushfire emergency.
When it is an emergency… pop on your emergency goggles! and switch them  on! They aren’t real goggles …they are pretend …but they help me focus  on what to do to stay safe.

Remember who the emergency captain  is….that’s the  person in your family who is giving  the emergency   instructions . Sometimes it is more than one person. Look at them.   Listen to them  and act as calmly and as quickly as you can.

 We have chosen scrapboy as our fire captain this time. He knows our fire plan and I trust him.

 It’s good to be prepared.

 Fill your water bottle with water.

 Choose some snacks and  fruit 

 pick some fun stuff to play with later

 your fav teddy or small toy

 some clean undies and pjs and some clothes for tomorrow

 and a card with your contact details on it.

 Pop them all in a back pack

 Have a practice wearing it and crawling down low …or walking to the front of the house ….or running with it on.

 Your emergency goggles give you an energy boost to carry your backpack on your own.
If you have to evacuate your house…evacuate is an  emergency word for  quickly leaving your house or school….it’s time to stay calm and follow  instructions.

 It’s all about staying safe.

To keep calm, I talk to myself …I say

 ‘I can cope, we’ve got a plan, we know what to do, it’s just one step at a time’.

And I keep saying that to myself , it helps me to be calm to know we have a plan…I can say it as many times as I like.
However, I make sure I stop talking to myself to listen to my family fire captain and follow instructions.
And the other thing I do is that I slow myself down…I try and take slow breathes.

Want to give it a try?

if we have to evacuate, I make sure I have my own back pack, and we follow our plan to get to safety.

Being safe is the most important thing.

 Our things can be replaced, we can get new things,  being safe is what we need to remember.
I hope that none of you have to use any of these top tips but I am happier knowing we have had this chat.

Scrapboy, Costa the garden gnome and I, are sending you all our love as well as well as our top tips.

Be safe!

love from dirtgirl

PS.:

I’ve also filmed two videos today for families today – links above.

Sugar Cane Fires

IF YOU ARE WONDERING why cane fires are allowed during fire emergencies it’s because the farmers obtain permits. 

 On site during a burn the cane farmer has numerous  farmers helping and working with him to control the burn with tractors  and water. Critical to the success of these burns is working with the  weather conditions.

 Many cane farmers are in actual fact volunteers in our local RFS units because of their expert knowledge in back burning.

 Our cane farmers are mostly 4th and 5th generation and have grown up in and around fire, it is in their blood. 

Do not be mislead into believing you can light your fire, just because the cane farmer does !

 Cane grown in NSW is mostly 2 year old cane and in QLD it is 1 year old which is why there is a need to burn the paddock.

 The sugar industry has been operational in the Clarence Valley since  1858 and is the southern gateway to the Australian sugar industry. 

 The Harwood Mill is the last remaining Australian owned and operated sugar mill in Australia. 

 This industry supports more than 500 farming families and over 1,000 direct and indirect employees on the NSW North Coast. 

 Their farming footprint covers 34,000 hectares with up to 2.4 million  tonnes of cane grown and 275,000 tonnes of raw sugar produced each year.  

 These operations contribute over $200 million dollars to the  Northern Rivers economy. Of this, $94 million is in the Clarence Valley.  

 Many cane farmers are also professional fisherman in the off season and grow other crops like macadamias and tea tree.

Here is a little video to show you what it looks like during a cane fire burn.

IF YOU ARE WONDERING why cane fires are allowed during fire emergencies it's because the farmers obtain permits. On site during a burn the cane farmer has numerous farmers helping and working with him to control the burn with tractors and water. Critical to the success of these burns is working with the weather conditions.Many cane farmers are in actual fact volunteers in our local RFS units because of their expert knowledge in back burning.Our cane farmers are mostly 4th and 5th generation and have grown up in and around fire, it is in their blood. Cane grown in NSW is mostly 2 year old cane and in QLD it is 1 year old which is why there is a need to burn the paddock.The sugar industry has been operational in the Clarence Valley since 1858 and is the southern gateway to the Australian sugar industry. The Harwood Mill is the last remaining Australian owned and operated sugar mill in Australia. This industry supports more than 500 farming families and over 1,000 direct and indirect employees on the NSW North Coast. Their farming footprint covers 34,000 hectares with up to 2.4 million tonnes of cane grown and 275,000 tonnes of raw sugar produced each year. These operations contribute over $200 million dollars to the Northern Rivers economy. Of this, $94 million is in the Clarence Valley. Many cane farmers are also professional fisherman in the off season and grow other crops like macadamias and tea tree.Here is a little video to show you what it looks like during a cane fire burn.

Posted by Debrah Novak on Friday, November 15, 2019

Video shared by Debrah Novak – 15 November


Information regarding sugar cane burning on Total Fire Ban days as per Total Fire Ban Rules available on the NSWRFS website.

Fire is lit, maintained or used between  the hours of 5 pm and 7 am Australian Eastern Standard Summer Time for a  purpose associated with the harvesting of sugar cane provided that:

the fire is lit, maintained or used in a manner that will prevent the escape of the fire, and

adequate fire fighting equipment is provided at the site of the fire to prevent the escape or spread of the fire, and

the fire is under the direct control of a responsible adult person who  is present at all times until it is fully extinguished, and

the  person who lights the fire has complied with the requirements of section  87 of the Rural Fires Act 1997, and the conditions set out in any  permit issued there under.

The commissioner may cancel this exemption at their discretion.

Fire & Rescue NSW Station 391 Murwillumbah

Burns

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

https://www.austfirstaid.com.au/fact-sheets/burns/

Dehydration / Heat Exhaustion / Heat Stroke

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

Symptoms
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

Symptoms
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

Symptoms
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

Symptoms
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.
Sweating.
Elevated body temperature.
Weakness or fatigue.
Headaches and dizziness.
Nausea.
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.
Cramps.
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
https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/first-aid-heat-related-illness