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Supporting wellbeing in Storms, Fires and Disasters

kangaroo bushfire

Supporting Wellbeing in Storms, Fires and Disasters

There are actions you can take to support yourself and family.
Your family and friends can be a great support, but you can contact the services listed below for extra support if you, or someone you know, is:

• feeling overwhelmed and unable to handle intense feelings or physical sensations
• showing physical stress symptoms
• finding that relationships with family and friends are suffering
• using more alcohol or drugs
• being physically or verbally violent
• experiencing other significant changes in their behaviour.

Recovery services, wellbeing and support
Find out more about the support, advice and counselling available as you and your family recover from storms, bushfires or floods.

Trauma affects the whole family in different ways 
When a family is affected by a crisis, everyone in the family will react in a different way. Understanding distress reactions and their effect on family dynamics can help the family to cope. 
Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you think your family is struggling to recover. 

Support for businesses 
Partners in Wellbeing is a free and confidential helpline available seven days a week. Speak to trained financial counsellors, business advisers and wellbeing coaches for confidential 1:1 support. Call 1300 375 330. 


If you have been impacted by past thunderstorms, it is understandable if you are feel concerned and experience a mix of strong emotions or physical reactions at the outset of storm.

If you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and finding things difficult, there are some practical strategies you may find helpful, accessible through the links below:

Other options for support include:

  • Reach out to family, friends or neighbours
  • Contact your GP
  • Contact your Maternal and Child Health Nurse (MCHN)
  • Call the Emergency Recovery Hotline 1800 560 760
  • Contact Lifeline on 131 114
  • Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
  • Contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.


If you were impacted by bushfires in western Victoria, it is understandable if you are feeling concerned and experiencing a mix of strong emotions or physical reactions right now.

It’s important you are prepared physically and mentally for the risks.

If you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and finding things difficult, you can:

  • Reach out to family, friends or neighbours
  • Contact your GP
  • Call the Recovery Hotline 1800 560760
  • Contact Lifeline on 131 114
  • Contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Addressing the raised awareness of bushfires

CFA’s Landscaping for Bushfires
A guide to retrofit your home for better protection from a bushfire
Bushfire best practice guide 
Contamination of drinking water in tanks from fire retardants during a fire
Talking to children openly and actions regarding bushfire preparation and response  
Accessible bushfire information in other languages
Can I clear trees and vegetation when preparing my property?   
Reducing the vegetation around your home is one of the most important things you can do to keep your home safe in a bushfire. 
But you must know what you can and can’t do without a permit. 
If you live in a rural or regional area you may not need a permit to clear trees, branches and scrub from around your home. 

Planning for your pets and animals 
What will you do with your pets on fire risk days? 
You need to plan and prepare for the safety of your pets and other animals. Prepare an emergency kit for all household members, including your pets. This should include pet medical history, vaccination certificate and veterinary contacts. 
In an emergency, you and your pet may have to leave your property at very short notice. 
A pet emergency kit will ensure that everything your pet needs is easily identified and can be transported with your pet to its temporary accommodation.  

Business - What are the six steps to prepare my business for a bushfire? 
Businesses also need to plan and prepare for bushfires. In the event of a bushfire that's likely to affect your business, these steps will help you keep you, your staff and clients safe, while giving your business the best chance of recovery. 
Having a disaster recovery plan will allow you to adapt more quickly to change and minimise the risk of disruption to your business. 

Helpful strategies for recovery from disasters and severe weather events

Some things you can do to support recovery include:

  • Remember that recovery takes time. Prepare yourself and family members to go through a period of stress and cut back on unnecessary demands to conserve everyone’s energy.
  • Don’t just focus on the problems. Make free time to be together with family or friends in a positive environment or else the stress will not subside.
  • Keep communicating. Make sure family and friends let each other know what is going on for them and what they would find helpful.
  • Plan regular time out and maintain activities you enjoyed before – even if you don’t much feel like it. You probably will enjoy yourself if you can make the effort.

Enjoyment and relaxation rebuild emotional energy

While it is natural to think about what is still to be done, remember to keep track of your progress in recovery and what has been achieved as well.
Stay positive and encouraging, even if at times, everyone needs to talk about their fears and worries. Remind yourself that families get through the hard times and are often stronger.