Returning Home: How to Recover from Bushfires

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To those with house and land packages in the Western suburbs of Melbourne, life may have taken an unexpected turn. Melbourne is one of the many places in Australia hit the hardest by the recent bushfire. It spread across the country with unprecedented intensity and speed, killing countless animals and people and costing significant damages to properties and businesses. Starting over can be difficult, so what ought to be done in the aftermath of such a tragedy?

For starters, focus on the safety of everybody involved, especially the children and the elderly. Make sure that they have a safe place to stay while the fires continue to rage. Then you can do the following steps to know what to do.

Consider the idea of going back.

Think about the roads and lines of communication. Is there a way to get there and return safely? Are there long stretches of deserted roads or enough stops along the way? Is the signal strong enough just in case of an emergency? Is the journey there even passable in the first place?

Before returning home, you must listen to the advice of the authorities. Stay tuned to the news, and don’t force your way in if it’s not advisable. If your life can be put on the line, it is better to stay on the safe side and wait until it’s announced that people can return.

Expect the worst.

Prepare yourself for what you may witness. It might take ages to rebuild a home that’s been cherished by your entire family for years. Your heart might break at the sight of shattered windows, destroyed furniture, burned portraits, and scraps of various materials that used to be ordinary things. You might have no idea how to start over and even break down in the process of taking everything in. Know that you can let yourself grieve for what was lost, but remember that you can rise from this situation.

Take precaution.

house on fire

If authorities say that it’s safe enough to go through the remains of your home, you can return but take precautions nonetheless. Multiple hazards may come with a house that has gone through something as sudden as a bushfire. Some of them can be live electricity, leaking gas, destroyed septic or sewage pipes, hot embers, tree branches, heavy plants that might fall on you from above, structural damage (including debris), and wildlife that have taken shelter in your home.

If you noticed any possible hazard, it would be best to alert the authorities and go to a safe shelter until the problem has been settled.

Start recovering.

Recovery is an essential part of the process. Do this for yourself, your family, and for everyone around you. It can become complicated, and you would need time to grieve. You should allow yourself to feel sad but use this emotion to strengthen your resolve. Remember that you and the people around you are survivors.

Find ways to pick yourself up physically, emotionally, and financially. If you’re having difficulties with money, consider asking for help from government services, friends, and family. Also, don’t afraid to reach out to others. You might need professional help along the way. We all need each other to move past difficult times.

With these in mind, starting over can be challenging, but you know you can make it with your loved ones.

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