Asbestos Safety After Bushfires

Source –

Please see info below on what to do after fire has burnt through your property – There is information on every State and Territory web site and the links to these can be found at the site listed at the very bottom of this news piece – courtesy of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency.

Please do not enter your property until bush fire authorities advise you that it is safe to do so.

Rummaging through the debris can be dangerous and you can expose yourself to asbestos fibres that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Take advice from the authorities – the life you save could be your own.

Asbestos is present in as many as 1 in 3 homes built prior to 1990, as well as many public buildings built in that time, and in natural disasters like fires formally bonded asbestos fibres can easily become loose and airborne.

The most likely time that exposure to asbestos could occur is during the building clean-up or demolition phase, when debris and materials are moved extensively.

There are precautionary measures that the public can take to protect themselves as much as possible, and authorities have advised on this.

Advice common across all Commonwealth, state and territory responsible authorities includes:

  • Take all advice from emergency and clean up personnel on the ground
  • Do not enter your property until you are advised that it is safe
  • Wear a P2 face mask and protective clothing (such as sturdy boots and gloves) – whether you believe asbestos may be present or not.
    Advice from the Department of Health regarding P2 face masks
    An example of the type of protective clothing suggested can be found here, provided by Emergency NSW.
  • Keep children (and animals) clear of the site
  • Building rubble should not be buried as it may contain hazardous materials including asbestos
  • Don’t spread ash and debris around your property, or move it extensively, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures
  • Moisten the ash with water to minimise dust and keep damp but do not use high pressure water sprays

Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency

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