SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- The bushfire season may bring up feelings of anxiety.
- Professional help is available if you are unable to cope.
- Stay informed – access to information will help you cope better.
- Preparing a bushfire survival plan will also help you cope better.
How your mind deals with a threat
During a threat or emergency, such as a bushfire, our bodies are placed in a heightened state of alert. This is a natural response to danger that helps us deal with immediate circumstances.
The heightened state helps us:
- think clearly
- plan and make decisions
- set priorities based on the immediate situation.
Getting emotionally prepared for bushfire season
Preparing for the bushfire season isn’t only about physical preparation, such as getting your house or property ready. It’s also important that you prepare yourself emotionally. You might think of this as becoming mentally fit and prepared.
As summer and a new bushfire season approaches, it is normal to feel , worried and anxious, especially if you have been impacted by bushfires before.
Now is the time to emotionally prepare, so you’re better able to manage if there is a new fire near you.
Make a bushfire survival plan
Preparing a bushfire survival plan will help you cope, mentally, throughout the bushfire season. It will help reduce the uncertainty and anxiety around what you and your family will do if a threat arises.
If you take steps to get prepared before the fire season, you’ll know what to do when you’re at risk of fire. A written and well-practised plan will help you remember what needs to be done during a crisis. Use the to help you write down your plan.
You can also use the . It’s a comprehensive guide to help you prepare for emergencies, including bushfire. It includes advice and suggestions for emotional preparedness.
How to become emotionally prepared for bushfire
Emotional preparedness involves becoming aware of, understanding, and knowing how to better manage your tendency to become stressed. You can do this by giving attention to 3 main areas:
- Anticipate – that the bushfire season and the occurrence of bushfires will be stressful and will cause your body and mind to react in a very specific way. Recognise your body’s stress response and think about how it may affect your ability to respond in the event of a bushfire. For example, you may find it difficult to think clearly and to make decisions.
- Identify – the thoughts, feelings and physical sensations that a bushfire is likely to trigger for you.
- Manage – the different aspects of your body’s stress response. Learn strategies that help you to manage your stress. This can help you to function effectively when faced with a bushfire.
Useful resources for bushfire preparation
Plan to stay informed during a threat or emergency
Where to get help
- Your local community health centre
- Tel. – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
- Tel. (download the VicEmergency app via or ) – for alerts and info on fires, floods, storms, earthquakes, beach closures and water safety
- – for current fire information (Twitter – @CFA_Updates and Facebook – CFA)
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: