Property hazards following the fire
Houses, sheds and other buildings or structrues that are burnt in a bushfire can leave potential health and safety hazards in the remaining rubble and ash.
Hazardous household materials that may be present after a bushfire include asbestos. ash from burnt treated timbers (ie copper chrome arsenate or CCA), medicines. garden or farm chemicals .. other household chemicals and cleaning products, damaged gas bottles, metal and other residues from burnt household appliances as well as ash and dusts.
Other hazards may include unsafe building structures. electrical hazards and missing fencing panels around swimming pools
Before returning to your property after a bushfire, consider the following precautions to protect your health:
Do not enter your property until you are advised that it is safe to do so by emergency services. utilities companies or local council.
Electrical hazards could exist such as live power lines that may be down or active solar panels.
Buildings and other structures may be unstable to enter or walk over.
Sewerage services may be disrupted causing health risks.
Be aware that hot, smouldering coals and other potentially hazardous materials may be hidden under the rubble.
Building rubble should not be buried as it may contain hazardous materials.
Don't spread ash around your property, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures, or CCA-treated timber was burnt.
Moisten the ash with water to minimise dust and keep damp but do not use high pressure water sprays.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Wear sturdy footwear and heavy duty work gloves to protect you from being cut by broken glass. standing on sharp objects or getting burnt by smouldering coals.
Wear protective overalls (with long sleeves and trousers). If convenient, wear disposable coveralls and throw them out with the site waste after use. Any nondisposable clothing should be cleaned/laundered prior to reuse, including footwear.
Do not us ordinar.y paper dust masks, handkerchiefs or bandannas. Face masks (called 'P2 masks') should be worn. as a minimum. to filter out fine particles including asbestos fibres.
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