Relief & Recovery

Smoke, air and water quality

Important: A water boil notice was issued on 15 February 2020 for Hernes Oak, Moe, Moe South, Newborough, Trafalgar East, Westbury, Yallourn, Yallourn Heights and Yallourn North​.

A boil notice has been issued as a precautionary measure due to a storm-related event at the Moe water treatment plant. 

Gippsland Water is working around the clock to flush out the system and ensure the water quality meets the required standard. This process could take between two days to a week to complete. People under special care (eg. dialysis patients), as well as schools and aged care homes are being directly contacted.

An emergency water point has been installed in Moe.

Further information: https://www.gippswater.com.au/media-centre/media-releases/2020/02/boil-water-alert-moe-newborough-and-westbury

 

Smoke and air quality

Smoke can be seen and smelt across Victoria, especially in the Hume and East Gippsland areas, which is impacting air quality. Widespread smoke is impacting communities beyond the fire zone, including Melbourne, and this could reoccur throughout the fire season.

Everyone should minimise time spent in smoky conditions. For more information visit smoke health and air quality.

 

P2 and N95 face masks

Face masks are being prioritised for distribution to people in fire-affected areas who are most at risk of significant health effects of smoke, including those with heart or lung conditions, people over 65, pregnant women, people whose only option is to work outside in smoke or people returning to their properties in burnt out areas.

Face masks are not being provided to the general community. They were distributed to areas initially declared in the State of Disaster. 

Those most at risk of significant health effects of smoke include:

  • People with existing heart or lung conditions, including angina, ischaemic heart disease, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (bronchitis and emphysema);
  • People over 65 years of age as they are more likely to have heart or lung disease;
  • Children 14 years and younger;
  • Pregnant women; and
  • People with diabetes.

If you’re in an area with poor or very poor air quality and in one of these at risk groups, the advice is to stay indoors, close doors and windows, and keep activity levels low.  

You can get a mask at an Emergency Recovery Centre or Health services in bushfire affected areas. 

Information on how to use face masks

This information has been developed by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide advice on the use of P2 and N95 face masks in fire affected areas.

Ordinary paper dust masks, handkerchiefs or bandannas do not protect you from fine particles in the air.  P2 masks don’t provide complete protection and they do not remove or protect against carbon monoxide.  Fitted properly, a P2 mask can filter out some of the fine particles in the air.  Anyone with a pre-existing heart or lung condition should try to seek medical advice before using a face mask. For further information, refer to the Guide for use of a facemask.

 

To protect family from the smoke and ash please note the following:

  • Avoid all outdoor physical activity.
  • Anyone with a heart or lung condition should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor.
  • People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan.
  • Switch air-conditioners to recirculate. If they do not have that function, turn them off. Try to take an air-conditioned break elsewhere if it is safe to do so and your home is uncomfortable.
  • Reduce activities that affect indoor air quality, like smoking cigarettes, burning candles or vacuuming

 

For further information:

  • Visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au for updates on air quality information and what actions you need to take. Air quality information is also available at the EPA AirWatch website www.epa.vic.gov.au/EPAAirWatch .
  • Call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 for updated incident information as well as access to support services.
  • Keep up to date with community newsletters produced by the local Incident Control Centre, which are available at www.emergency.vic.gov.au or at local relief centres.
  • Check the EPA website for general information on Smoke and Your Health at www.epa.vic.gov.au/your-environment/air/smoke

 

Water quality 

Tap water 

For the most up to date information on current water supply impacts, visit:

Water tanks and emergency water for bushfire affected residents

For further information on bushfires and water tanks and emergency water for bushfire affected residents.

Recreational water

Check the EPA website for information on bushfires and recreational water quality, including blackwater and fish deaths at www.epa.vic.gov.au/about-epa/publications/1817

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