Recovering from a bushfire

General information to help you recover from bushfires.

Relief and recovery from bushfires is normally coordinated by councils. Support services and recovery advice is available on this website, at your local relief centre or by Contacting your council for information. 

Council information

Councils can download facts sheets and recovery specific information for their communities via the Emergency Management Relief and Recovery Communications Portal. This includes information collated from across government department and agencies websites.

Returning home after a fire

Houses, sheds and other buildings or structures burnt in a bushfire can leave potential health hazards. These may include fallen or sharp objects, smouldering coals, damaged electrical wires, leaking gas and weakened walls.

When returning to your property, make sure you are aware of the dangers and take steps to protect your health and safety.

If your home has been damaged by the fire or smells of smoke from bushfires, here’s some info for cleaning up a smoke-affected home.

Ash from timber treated with a preservative call Copper chrome arsenate (CCA) is dangerous. Freshly treated CCA timber may pose a health hazard after a fire. Check out what to do here.

Red Cross provides great safety information about returning home after a bushfire.

Bushfires and water tanks

If your area is affected by bushfires, your water source could become contaminated from debris, ash or small dead animals. Here's how to reduce your risk.

Also, you should not source water from a creek that has been affected by bushfire as the water may be contaminated.

Water drawn from deep bores or wells should still be safe to use. If you suspect contamination, use an alternative water supply for drinking and food preparation.

Here’s some safety information on bushfire and water tanks.

Farm recovery

Agriculture Victoria has information for landholders about managing bushfire affected crops, water supplies, soils and pastures.

If you’re looking for information about assisting livestock after an emergency, Agriculture Victoria has information to assist with managing livestock and horses.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website has details for landholders for repair of fences and the replacement of essential water after a bushfire - Fences, control lines and essential water after bushfire

Power outages

When power outages occur, people often turn to alternative sources of fuel or electricity. Here's how to stay safe.

Find out what to do during a power outage in the guide to power outages.

Insurance

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and seek advice about the claims process. For detailed information on what to do visit Understand Insurance

Your health

Your own health and safety can be at risk after an emergency. Department of Health & Human Services provides information to be aware of for your health after an emergency  as well as fact sheets on things like fire retardant.

Your family & friends

The Australian Red Cross activates the Register, Find, Reunite service to reunite family, friends and loved ones after a major emergency.

Emotional assistance

It is normal to have strong emotional or physical reactions after an emergency – these feelings are part of the healing process. Here are some strategies for coping with trauma in recovery.

In families, each person reacts in their own way after an emergency. Understanding each other and some of the common reactions to look out for can help your family. The better health channel has more info about trauma and families.

  • LifeLine – phone 131 114 - A 24-hour telephone service that offers confidential support and advice to help you deal with stress and personal challenges.
  • Beyondblue information line – phone 1300 224 636 - An information line that offers expert information on depression; how to recognise the signs of depression, how to get help, how to help someone else and how to stay well.
  • Mensline – phone 1300 789 978 - A telephone support, information and referral service, helping men deal with their relationship problems.
  • Nurse-on-Call – phone 1300 60 60 24 - A 24-hour telephone service that allows people to discuss any health-related issue with a registered nurse for the cost of a local call.

Financial assistance

The Personal Hardship Assistance Program provides financial assistance to alleviate personal hardship and distress suffered by eligible Victorians as a result of an emergency. 

The Australian Tax Office has general information about help available for people affected by emergencies.

Consumer affairs

The Consumer Affairs Victoria website provides information and advice about your rights and obligations following an emergency:

  • Renting and rebuilding (with advice about travelling con men)
  • Insurance, banking and financial hardship
  • Fundraising scams
  • Price rip-offs

Legal Advice

Disaster Legal Help Victoria provides free legal advice, assistance and referrals to people affected by a disaster.

For assistance, please phone Disaster Legal Help Victoria's free helpline on 1800 113 432. This phone line is open throughout the year between 8.45am-5.15pm, Monday to Friday.

Further information

You can find out more about the services available to you by calling the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

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