Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Bushfire health and safety

24-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.

Bushfire

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.

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 (or COVID-19) who are already taking a PBS-subsidised medicine can obtain it without a prescription under these 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.

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

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

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 Support Service

Bushfires can cause high levels of stress to the first responders working to keep Australian communities safe.

Mental health specialists, the Black Dog Institute and UNSW Sydney have developed the Bush Fire Support Service (BFSS) — free mental health support for emergency service workers affected by bushfires (and their partners).

To learn more, go to blackdoginstitute.org.au/bush-fire-support-service.

Free distress and trauma counselling

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

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.

Depression

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

Asthma

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 2021


Back To Top

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo