08 January 2020

Asbestos Safety After Bushfires 2020

Wednesday, 08 January 2020

Asbestos is a potential hazard when returning to bushfire affected properties. Do not enter sites that have been affected by fire unless you have been advised by authorities it is safe to do so. 

State and territories have issued advice and these links are provided below for your information. At the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Web site link provided here


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.
  • 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

Please take warnings from those in charge – asbestos is a clear and present danger on many sites – the life you save could be your own