Fires could bring on anxiety

RESIDENTS were reminded of the devastating impact of bushfires in Western Australia when four people recently died in a raging inferno near Esperance.

Stoneville and Parkerville Progress Association spokesman Greg Jones said people needed to be aware of �bushfire anxiety�.

�Many will be reminded of the devastating Parkerville, Stoneville and Mount Helena bushfire on January 12 last year, which destroyed

57 homes and damaged 358 other properties,� he said.

�It�s anticipated this summer may well break records and bushfires will have a much greater impact on communities.�

Mr Jones said the sound of emergency sirens and the sight of plumes of smoke could trigger anxiety for many people in the oncoming season.

�People, young and old, who have been affected by major incidents such as bushfires, can have long-lasting anxiety and trauma-related stress,� he said.

�Sometimes, everything can appear to be too much and overwhelming, particularly when people are going through a tough time.�

He said confidential counselling was available to those affected by a bushfire or subsequent events.

General support

Lifeline – 131 114 or www.lifeline.org.au

The Samaritans – 135 247 or www.thesamaritans.org.au

Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636

Midland Headspace – 9274 8860

Family and youth support

Parent & Adolescent Counselling Service – 9290 6771

Seen & Heard – 9255 2570

Connections Counselling – 9295 0727

Medicare Local – 9376 9238

Gateway Clinic – 9274 3375

Dept of Child Protection & Family Services – 9274 9411

Greater protection for firefighters

NEW lifesaving firefighting equipment is being rolled out to help protect state firefighters should they become trapped by fire in their vehicles.

Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis announced the $15.4 million crew protection project recently.

He said new protection measures included external water deluge systems, in-cab air breathing systems and protection for vital equipment, such as vehicle wiring, water and fuel lines.

�These new systems are part of an ongoing crew protection project that�s providing a safer working environment for volunteer and career firefighters,� he said.

The new crew protection is being installed in about 1,000 Fire and Emergency Services and local government firefighting vehicles, with brigades operating in high-risk bushfire areas taking priority.

More than 3,700 burnover blankets have been distributed and 883 firefighting appliances fitted with radiant heat shields.

The third and final phase of the project is due to begin next year with the installation of an advanced vehicle locating system for appliances.