Bushfire and weather conditions in Tasmania over the coming weeks will result in periods of smoky conditions. Bush fires can pose public health issues.
The Department of Health and Human Services have provided advice about what to consider when returning home after your property may have been affected by fire damage or smoke containing ash and material.
- DHHS – Standing health alerts – Returning home after a bushfire
- Keeping rainwater tanks safe in bushfire-affected areas
- Preventing spread of disease in areas affected by bushfires
Infants and young children are more sensitive to the effects of smoke. So are pregnant women and elderly persons, smokers, and people with chronic medical conditions (especially lung and heart conditions)
It is important for persons at risk from smoke to have a management plan with their GP for exacerbations of their medical condition, and for them to know when to use their plan. Asthma plans are a common example.
The following is the key public health advice about managing smoky conditions:
- Avoid physical activity outdoors when it is smoky.
- Stay indoors with windows and doors closed where possible.
- If using an air conditioner, switch it to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’.
- People who live at home should consider visiting family or friends, or the library or shopping centre, if their home gets too hot for comfort or a lot of smoke from the outside gets in.
- A break in smoky conditions provides a chance to open windows and air out homes.
- Get immediate medical advice if you experience symptoms such as breathing difficulties or chest pain.
- Get real-time air quality information for your area on the EPA BLANkET website, or by downloading the AirRater app and subscribing to alerts.
Huon Valley Health Centre – Walk in clinic all Week
The Huon Valley Health Centre’s walk-in clinic for people affected by the Huon bushfires will continue every day up to Tuesday 5th February. There is also walk-in availability in Cygnet at 14 George Street for the rest of the week to Friday 1st February. Public Health Services have issued a smoke alert for the Cygnet area
- DHHS Smoke and health fact sheet
- Real-time air quality data on the EPA BLANkET website
- Information about AirRater
- TasALERT (official emergency information source, with many links)
- Tasmania Fire Service (includes list and map of alerts)
- Sentinel Hotspots – Allows users to identify fire locations with a potential risk to communities and property
- Public Health Hotline – Phone 1800 671 738