How to recover after being impacted by bushfire

WA BAL Report are experts in conducting bushfire attack level assessments and bushfire attack level reports for those living in bushfire-prone areas. However, unfortunately, when bushfires do strike, despite your best efforts, you may be negatively impacted. If your home has been damaged or destroyed by fire, it can be a difficult and daunting time, however there is help available.

The firefighters’ priority is the protection of lives, and this may involve relocating residents in immediate danger. It may be several days before the authorities give you the all clear to return home. A fire investigation may be carried out on your property by the fire officer in charge of the incident if the cause of the fire is unknown. In some cases, the cause of the fire is never uncovered.

When you return your property, there may be multiple hazards – be careful of fallen trees, structurally unsound buildings where walls, roofs and ceilings can give way without warning, asbestos that may be damaged and other items that may cause injury. If parts of your house are safe to reenter, then you can commence the task of salvaging your property. You should prioritise recovery of things like identification (passport, birth certificate and drivers’ licence), car keys and wallet, credit cards, legal documents, insurance information, medication and other personal items and other valuables. Some parts of your home and furniture can be restored from fire damage.

Insurance is the next consideration, you will have to check with your insurance company about your level of insurance coverage. Your insurance company may also recommend you do certain things to secure and protect your home. You will be required to take reasonable precautions to protect your home from the weather and potential theft or vandalism. Your insurance company will also advise on repairs and rebuilding of your property. WA BAL Report can assist you in determining the requirements for rebuilding your home following a bushfire under the Australian Standards AS3959.

If your home is unsafe to return to, you might not be permitted to resume living there due to structural damage or if it is otherwise unsafe. Evacuation and welfare centres are established to provide you with shelter and emergency accommodation along with food, clothing, financial assistance, personal support and other welfare services. If you are not insured or your insurance company does not cover you for emergency accommodation, the Department of Housing or the Department for Child Protection Crisis Care may be able to find crisis accommodation and assist with longer term housing. There may also be financial assistance including personal hardship and distress relief payments and other types of entitlements available to you. If the fire has been declared a natural disaster, you can apply for assistance through the WA Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

Your wellbeing may also be impacted by the traumatic event. Monitor yourself for symptoms including depression, anxiety, sadness, anger and fatigue and see a doctor if necessary. Be mindful of children as they can also experience trauma. You should consider getting support, counselling or professional help if things do not improve.

For more information

WA BAL Report are experts at conducting Bushfire Attack Level Assessments, Bushfire Attack Level Reports and bushfire prevention strategies in general in Perth and Western Australia. For more information, contact our friendly staff on 08 6114 9356 or at admin@wabalreport.com.au.

Thank you for visiting www.wabalreport.com.au

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