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Bushfire health and safety

26-minute read

Bushfires have become a part of Australian life. Learn how to protect your health, prepare for a natural disaster, know which health conditions put you at greater risk, and limit the stress that bushfires can cause you and those around you.

There are several tools and apps to help you deal with or prepare for an emergency.


Bushfires and your health

Find out if you or your health are at risk from bushfires, as well as how to prepare, taking into account your health needs and the needs of those you care for.

Face mask

Getting a face mask? Get the right one

Not all face masks can protect you properly from bushfire smoke. Know how to choose the right one and to stay safe when the air is poor quality.

Air quality and access to face masks. Available from pharmacies and hardware stores, the number of P2 face masks being provided to support bushfire-affected communities has been increased. Learn more here.

First aid for burns

First aid for burns

If you suffer a serious burn, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance. You might also have to provide first aid since it’s important to treat burns quickly.

Fire danger

Continuing access to PBS medicines

People affected by bushfires who are already taking a PBS-subsidised medicine can obtain it without a prescription under temporary emergency rules.

Fire danger

Natural disaster safety

Learn how to cope both during and after a bushfire, or other natural disaster, and find out more about the sources of help and information available.

Fire fighters

How you can help

Safeguard the mental health both of you and your children and get reliable information here on helping bushfire victims and firefighters.

Dust storm

Dust storms

The weather conditions that contribute to bushfires can also cause dust storms. Get some tips here on the precautions to take during a storm.

Hot weather

Hot weather risks

Get tips here on how to stay well during hot weather and learn about the symptoms and conditions to look out for.


Medicines and natural disasters

Important tips on storing and taking medicines safely during natural disasters such as bushfires, floods or cyclones.

Bushfires and mental health

Free distress and trauma counselling

Free counselling for individuals, families and emergency personnel affected by the bushfire crisis is also available under a new government mental health support program.

Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is providing free counselling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call 1800 512 348 to speak with a trained mental health professional (24 hours 7 days a week) or chat online at

The losses of life and property caused by a natural disaster often bring on mental health problems, such as depression, both in the short and the long term. Whether you are directly or indirectly affected, there are warning signs to look out for but also plenty of help and information available.

Bushfire recovery

Where to get help

Community health services, websites and helplines are just some of the sources of help and information available to those affected by bushfires. Learn more here.


Dealing with depression

Depression is a normal response to a natural disaster. Find out here what to do if you think you are suffering from depression.

Young person with PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a treatable but sometimes long-lasting anxiety disorder. It’s important to know the symptoms – learn more here.

Australian bush

More mental health information

A natural disaster, such as a bushfire, can be devastating, but you can be confident in the support and sources of help. Find out more.

Health conditions that put you at greater risk

Bushfires create smoke that can spread far from the site of the fire. Learn here about asthma, breathing problems and other health conditions that may put you at greater risk when the air quality is poor.

Asthma inhaler


Bushfire smoke can trigger an asthma attack, putting those living with asthma at greater risk. Know what to do if you or someone else is affected.

Poor air quality

Breathing problems

Experiencing a breathing problem can signal a medical emergency. Know the symptoms and causes, and when you should seek help urgently.

Lung x-ray

Other lung conditions

A wide range of lung conditions could be affected by bushfire smoke. Find out about some of the main ones here.

Blood pressure

Heart conditions

Heart failure or attack, angina, cardiomyopathy, hypertension and coronary disease and atherosclerosis may be affected by smoke. Find out more here.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2020

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