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Are you managing to be OK with all these dreadful fires.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello everyone. I was watching the news this morning on the ABC. It was a special program on the bush fires. It made me cry because of all the damage to people's homes and lives. Also the dreadful new that several firefighters have died.

How is everyone coping? I know some of you live near fire affected areas and must be worrying a lot. Restricted power available and no way to contact family and friends must be quite difficult to bear. Being out of contact with our loved ones is so very hard. Film footage on TV shows how desperate it's getting. People are trapped because it is unsafe to leave their properties, but they cannot contact their families.

Is there any particular way you have to help you cope with this? Perhaps we can share tips on how to remain calm amidst all this mayhem. For me prayer is the way to go. I am not near any fires though a few weeks ago we had lots of smoke blowing into our homes.

Share you tips and help each other to manage.


20 Replies 20

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Mary

Thank you for this really timely and important thread.

I am luckily not living in a bushfire area. However, some of my loved ones were holidaying at Lakes Entrance over Christmas and my worry level was off the chart until they arrived home safely yesterday. We had spotty communication for a couple of days, which caused quite a bit of stress and frustration.

While I was overwhelming relived with the outcome, I still can't shake the saddness I feel for those who have perished, their families and all those poor people who have lost homes and/or livelihoods.

I think we are a nation in collective shock and mourning. And it hurts.

My way of coping is to keep busy and focus on doing rather than feeling. Donating to the ABC/Red Cross appeal felt good, such a positive and easy way to help. I am also making a conscious effort to spend time with my elderly neighbours.

They are a beautiful couple in their 90s and I occasionally make an excuse to go around, you know bring some baked goods or flowers from my garden. But at present I'm checking in daily as they are really fretting about the fires.

I'd like to do more to help those people directly struggling as a result of the fires but geography makes that impractical. Spending time with this couple helps me to feel less useless in this time of crisis.

Kind thoughts to you

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Mary and Summer Rose,

Thanks for starting this thread Mary. The fires have been very real for me as two of my siblings have been impacted by different fires. One has had land destroyed but their home is safe at present and so are they. Friends have been close to the fires as well.

My heart goes out to everyone involved, to all of nature that has been destroyed and for the people who are trying their hardest to help in so many ways.

Part of me also feels guilty that I am not doing my bit. As an ex volunteer fire fighter, I feel like I should be out there helping and not sitting in my safe air conditioned house.

The place where I grew up is on fire as well at present.

Sometimes my mind is so overwhelmed with what is happening, I don't know how to help.

Thanks again Mary.

My thoughts are with everyone impacted by the fires in any way.

Regards from Doolhof

Paw Prints
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello Mary, Summer Rose, Dools & everyone,

One thing we should all do is have an emergency plan in place. It's not something that only those in bushfire prone areas should have. Any of use could lose power, phone/internet services, access to supplies for one or more days due to storms/floods/fires. We don't have to be directly in the path of an event, a fire/flood many km's away can cut power supplies to a very large region affecting many. Some of the towns currently affected by the fires whilst not in the fires path are isolated due to access roads being cut.

There are lists of things you should consider for your plan on various useful websites. Google "household emergency plan" it will give plan ideas from the various state gov's/red cross etc

Knowing you have a plan can help you feel more in control & less overwhelmed if it is ever needed.

Thoughts with everyone affected.


Hi Paws and All,

Just to add to what you have written, having all of your documents available if required is beneficial.

We are organising copies of all our documents, insurances, birth certificates and so on and will copy them to a USB or some device and leave it at my in laws home.

Some people do practise evacuations so they have ideas of where to go and what to do before an event happens.

Cheers from Dools

Hello Everyone

Such great responses.

Paws you are quite right. We should have an emergency plan in place. No good trying to decide what to do when the emergency happens. And as you say, events some distance away can effect us. I am thinking particularly of the smoke from the fires that I guess most of us have contended with. It may not sound much but smoke inhalation can result in all sorts of breathing difficulties. You don't need to have asthma or similar to be affected. I saw on the news that smoke from the Qld fires ended up in New Zealand.

Great idea about your documents Dools. I have wondered what to do about these things. I would not like to leave them behind in the event of an emergency. My idea was to collect these into one packet ready to take them with me, but of course we cannot guarantee we would have time to pick up the package no matter how organised we are. It's the same with family photos. Losing them would be hard but then losing our lives by trying to collect them would be an even bigger disaster.

So many of those precious memories are wrapped up in the various articles. We take it for granted they will always be safe but over the past few years I think we have all realised this is not necessarily so. In the 1974 floods in Qld we were isolated. OK we had a freezer full of food and a well-stocked pantry. Unfortunate we lost power and despite covering the freezer with blankets in an attempt to keep the food frozen we eventually had to cook it on the BBQ. And there was still the problem of storing it though not as urgent.

We had some travellers billeted with us which meant they could help us eat the food while it was still good. Still had to throw away quite a lot. Also I was six months pregnant at the time and I stated to bleed. What then? Could not contact any emergency help because the phones were out. No good jumping in the car to reach help because the water had cut us off. In the end all I could do is rest as much as possible and hope everything would be OK. Yes it was OK and my eldest son was born in April.

Didn't stop me worrying for the next few months in case something went wrong with the birth or the baby. So another spin off from the disaster.

Thanks everyone for your comments.


Hi Mary,

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us all. That must have been a trying time, scary and maybe rewarding at the same time, being able to help out others. Not having medical assistance would have been very concerning I am sure.

Another thing I thought of was medications. These days in S.A. at least, you can have the chemist take care of your scripts.

People could be out of their homes when a disaster hits so would not have extra medications with them. Considering what to do if a disaster happened in our absence may be beneficial too.

My heart is aching for those who are doing it so tough right now.

Huge hugs to everyone. From Dools

This morning I have been crying for our nation.

To see images of what is happening all around our country breaks my heart.

I don't have words for the sorrow I feel.

Hi everyone,

Thank you for starting this thread; I know how important it is to talk about it and I can see how it's taking it's toll on all of our country.

At the moment I live in a place that isn't prone to bushfires, but I do have friends in areas that have had to evacuate or lost their homes. Even though I'm not one of them, I can't help but cry too for the pain that everyone has felt as well as all of our wildlife and lack of support from the government.

As to how I'm coping - not well. But I'm working really hard to look for the good. People who are letting strangers into their home, the donations that have been poured in - from locals to people overseas, people sewing and sending things, businesses donating percentages of their sales and of course the volunteers. I saw that the Red Cross, Wires and RFS are overwhelmed with the support they've gotten. If I look at these things, it helps.

I've donated a bit too, and registered my interest as a volunteer even though I'm not sure if I'd be helpful.

I also thought I'd post this here since there's some pretty helpful resources -



Thanks again for starting this conversation. I think discussions around mental health get a bit forgotten in tragedies like these.


Not well.

After a while you (read "I") can become desensitized to things. With the fires, it is constant and cannot escape it. But it is not just the fire itself or damage to the land and wildlife, towns etc. There is also the way events are reported by the media, and the blame game, either by media or armchair experts (in comment sections in news articles). Plus the long(er) term fallout with rebuilding which takes time - with the floods that were in T'ville, some people still are still rebuilding their houses let alone their lives.

So in terms of feelings they are mixed - everything from anger, frustration, sorrow, inadequacy to some more positive ones.

As far as rt comment on tragedies and mental health - I think this is a true enough statement. I have only seen a couple of results in the online news on this topic, and the most recent was today. Probably my greatest fear is that when the fires go out the issues will be forgotten.... at least by the media.

Thanks for starting this conversation.