It helps to think ahead about what the physical environment might look and feel like when you return home. There may be a delay in returning home if the area is not safe, or authorities are searching for missing people. The area affected may also be treated as a crime scene, if the cause of the fire was suspected arson.
After a bushfire, you may find your local environment has dramatically changed from the one you left. Some of the experiences people report after bushfire include:
When the all clear is given, think about the following things:
If there is no apparent damage:
It is normal for people to have conflicting emotions as a result of returning home. Try to anticipate what conditions you may be confronted with and how you may react. Rehearsal of the scenario will allow you to feel more in control of the situation and less distressed.
Some of these mixed feelings may include:
Notice these feelings, and label them. Are you are feeling anxious? Angry? Sad?
Pinpoint where in your body these feelings are located. Some common places that people notice feelings of worry or distress include:
The next step is to find ways of managing your feelings. Learning useful techniques can make all the difference in how you react.
If you are feeling anxious or upset, try to:
The recovery period can often feel overwhelming, lonely and difficult.
Some people find the following helpful:
People often find themselves going back over the experience, thinking about it, trying to put some sense and order to the events, and working out what happened and why. It is natural to try to understand what happened, but try not to stress about things that are outside your control.
Below are several suggestions to help your personal recovery as well as to hasten the recovery of your community:
You can also contact your local government or relevant state government for information about recovery.
This information has been developed by Australian Red Cross and the Australian Psychological Society to provide general information in order to help people deal with the consequences of a disaster.