Prepare before a bushfire

Prepare your home

There are a number of ways to prepare your home and family, including:

For information and resources to prepare your home and family, you can also visit the NSW Rural Fire Service website

Set up access to emergency alerts

See Telstra's advice on how to prepare your phone and internet access.

To view emergency warnings and advice, download:

For live traffic information, download:

Keep your documents safe

It's important to be prepared in case you need to leave your home in an emergency.
By keeping your key documents in a safe place away from your home or saved online, you can access them when needed.

Find out how to prepare your documents in case of an emergency.

During a bushfire

For emergencies call Triple Zero (000) or TTY – 106.

Follow emergency warnings and advice

Emergency warnings and advice

Resources to keep up-to-date on the latest information:

Traffic, road closures and public transport information

For the latest traffic information such as vehicle accidents, road closures and major roadwork, you can:

For the latest public transport alerts, visit Transport for NSW.

Find somewhere to stay

If you need to evacuate, you should find an evacuation centre.

Temporary emergency accommodation for those that have no other means may be available by visiting a recovery centre or by calling 13 77 88.

Check phone and internet access

Follow health advice

Check air quality

The air quality index indicates how clean or polluted the air is in areas across NSW. For air quality readings that are updated hourly, visit the air quality website

Find how to protect yourself from bushfire smoke.

Access medications and prescriptions

To access prescriptions and take medicines safely in an emergency event go to Healthdirect.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

If you're an NDIS participant:

Get 24/7 mental health support

The bushfires recovery guide has self-help for those affected by bushfires.

Register with the Red Cross

To let people know you're safe or to find and reconnect with people after a natural disaster, register with the Red Cross service, Register. Find. Reunite.

Care for animals

For assistance with pets, livestock (including horses), and wildlife:

For advice about assisting injured wildlife

During significant emergency responses, the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline (1800 814 647) will be activated for:

  • animal assessment and veterinary assistance
  • stock euthanasia and burial
  • emergency fodder (up to 3 days supply)
  • emergency stock water
  • livestock feeding and management advice
  • care of animals in evacuation centres.

After a bushfire

Service NSW customer care

Service NSW is here to help when you have been impacted by a disaster or an emergency event:

For free help in your language, call Translating and Interpreting Services on 13 14 50 and ask them to contact us on 13 77 88.

Secure your home

If you're able to access your home, Fire and Rescue NSW provide advice on what to do after a fire, including:

  • securing all entry points
  • disconnecting utilities
  • who to contact if you need to leave your home vacant.

Find accommodation support

Emergency accommodation

Temporary emergency accommodation for those that have no other means is available by visiting a recovery centre or by calling 13 77 88.


If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness and need immediate accommodation, please contact Link2Home on 1800 152 152.


Anglicare provides assistance through emergency housing, homelessness support and food relief.

If you've been affected by a natural disaster you can:


Social housing

If you need private rental assistance, social housing or help with understanding your rights as a tenant:

Replace documents

To apply for financial support after a disaster, you'll be asked to provide proof of identity documents.

If your documents have been damaged or destroyed, they can be replaced or reissued free of charge, including:

  • birth, marriage and change of name certificates
  • work licences, permits and certificates
  • passports and citizenship certificates
  • enrolment to vote
  • family law documents
  • Medicare cards
  • vehicle registrations and licences
  • vessel registrations, boat and PWC licences
  • fishing licences.

Visit identification, licences and personal documents.

Access financial support

Payments and grants

Find out about disaster recovery payments, grants and financial assistance for:

See the disaster assistance available from the Rural Assistance Authority

Contact your bank

Banks offer help to customers affected by a natural disaster. This could include financial assistance packages, deferred loans, waived fees and grants. 

Contact your bank for details.

Indigenous business support

Indigenous Business Australia provides economic development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


You may be eligible for the Temporary Financial Hardship subsidy for extra help with the cost of approved child care.

Transport refunds, fee waivers and concessions

You may be eligible for reduced fees if your vehicle has been lost, destroyed or written off as a result of a declared natural disaster.

Find more support for driving and transport.

Fines, taxes and duties

You may be eligible for a payment extension, hardship assistance or other allowances from Revenue NSW in relation to: 

  • fines and overdue fines
  • taxes, duties, grants and royalties
  • payroll tax. 

Find out more about Revenue NSW natural disaster relief.


The ATO will generally stop sending correspondence to people in areas affected by major disasters and can take other steps to help you sort out your tax affairs once the crisis has passed.

To find out more:

Financial counselling services

Get insurance and legal advice

Insurance coverage and claims

Contact your insurance provider to check your level of cover, exclusions and the assessment process.


Insurance Council of Australia

When the Insurance Council makes a catastrophe declaration, additional resources are made available to speed up insurance claims processing. This is a separate process from a disaster declaration made by the government. These declarations have no effect on your insurance, your excess or what is covered by your insurance policy.

To find what to do during and after a disaster, go to the Insurance Council of Australia.

If you need legal advice after a natural disaster, you may be eligible for free services to help you with:

  • insurance claims and disputes
  • employment
  • financial hardship such as loans, mortgages and credit cards
  • unpaid fines
  • housing and rental
  • coronial inquests
  • Centrelink payments.

For free legal help you can:

For legal support and other free legal assistance services in your area:

If you have been affected by a natural disaster, legal advice and services are available from:

Return home safely

For health advice on returning home safely after a bushfire or fire, such as wearing protective clothing, handling waste and managing food and water supplies, visit NSW Health.

For what to do with your rainwater supply after a bushfire, visit NSW Health

For help with clean-up, you can contact your local council.

Damaged service connections

Fire and Rescue NSW will call for the services of the local gas, fuel and electricity suppliers to disconnect services before they leave the site.

If your gas, electricity or water is disconnected, it's your responsibility to have the services checked and reconnected by a licensed trade person. Do not attempt to reconnect the service yourself.

Stay safe

For health advice to reduce your risk of injury, sickness or infection during and after a natural disaster, visit NSW Health.

Electricity, gas and water supply

If your gas, electricity or water supply is disconnected, do not attempt to reconnect the service yourself. 

To check a builder, tradesperson or related licence, see Check a builder or tradesperson licence.

Clean-up support

If your property has been severely damaged or is not suitable to live in because of a natural disaster, contact your local council. They will let you know what clean-up support is available to you.

Clean-up support can be for a residential or business property.

Waste levy fee waived

In declared natural disaster areas across NSW, the NSW Government may waive the waste levy fee:

  • for residents disposing of building materials, furniture and any other disaster-generated waste cleared from private or public land

  • at relevant facilities within the local government area where the natural disaster declaration applies.

Contact your local council for more information.

Hazardous waste removal

Hazardous waste includes materials such as:

  • acids and alkalis

  • brake fluids and coolants, car care products

  • cleaning products

  • paint, polishes, varnishes, stains

  • solvents (including paint thinners, turpentine)

  • pesticides, insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides and other garden chemicals

  • pool chemicals.

Hazardous materials must be set aside for specialist disposal as directed by your local council.

Community Recycling Centres take household problem waste for free.

To find your nearest centre and for full details on what you can drop off, visit NSW EPA.

Asbestos removal

When removing any amount of asbestos, it is recommended that you always use a licensed asbestos removalist.

Find a local asbestos and demolition licence holder.

Learn more about asbestos hazards and safe handling.

Animal carcasses

Animals that have died should be handled as little as possible. Avoid contact with any body fluids from the dead animal.

Rebuilding after a fire

If you're planning to rebuild on land that is designated as bushfire prone you have a legal obligation to consider the potential of bushfire and meet the requirements of Planning for Bush Fire Protection (PBP) and AS3959.

The NSW Rural Fire Service provides advice on building after a bushfire, including:

  • knowing your level of risk
  • understanding requirements and approvals processes
  • considering protection measures.

Rebuilding rules

If you are planning to rebuild, learn more about changes to the rules including:

Free mail redirection

Australia Post offers free mail redirection for up to 12 months to individuals and small businesses affected by natural disasters. For more information, visit Australia Post's website.

Change your address

Find out how to change your address with:

Help affected communities



BlazeAid helps clear, repair or replace fences that have been damaged or destroyed in natural disasters such as bushfires.

Find out how you can volunteer with BlazeAid.

NSW Rural Fire Service

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) accepts volunteers in a range of roles including:

  • firefighting
  • administration
  • communications
  • catering
  • community education
  • community engagement
  • training
  • operational logistics support
  • welfare support
  • equipment maintenance
  • youth development.

Find out how you can volunteer with the NSW RFS.

Other emergency volunteering opportunities

There are many different organisations involved in emergency management and response in NSW.

Learn how to become an emergency volunteer in NSW.


There are many ways to help communities affected by natural disaster in NSW.


GIVIT is an online non-profit organisation that manages donations to make sure people and communities get exactly what they need, when they need it. The GIVIT website lists items currently needed by people. You can select an item and choose to either donate or fund it.

You can also list an item for donation or give money that will be used to buy exactly what's needed.

Unrequested donations hinder recovery efforts. Please do not drop donations into the affected areas. Please check GIVIT’s website over the coming days and weeks to see exactly what is needed.

Other donations

You can make financial donations to:

Check a charitable fundraising licence

Accommodation support

If you want to provide additional or temporary accommodation on your property, find out about changes to planning rules for:

Related links

Last updated: 7 December 2023

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