Morwell Open Cut / Hazelwood Mine fire
VOSTVic Public Resource
Prepared by VOST Victoria
Updated 25-03-2014 16:47
Current incident info
The fire in the Hazelwood mine has been declared safe. Conditions will continue to be monitored as required.
Chief Health Officer Dr Rosemary Lester said on 18/3/14 that the temporary relocation advice message for at risk people has been lifted.
Grants are available for businesses with fewer than 20 employees. Call the Victorian Business Line on 13 22 15 or visit www.business.vic.gov.au
Business mentoring is available through Latrobe City Council on 1300 367 700.
Low interest concessional loans are available through Rural Finance Corporation. Call 1800 260 425 or visit www.ruralfinance.com.au
Scouts Victoria is offering free temporary accommodation at popular campsites across Victoria. Call 03 5128 5616.
A holiday house scheme has been put in place to provide accommodation support. If you would like to offer your holiday house or use the accommodation on offer, please call 1300 366 356 to register your details.
If you are leaving Morwell overnight, or for a longer period, you can register your details with the Red Cross Register.Find.Unite service to help you let family, friends or neighbours know where you have gone. Visit www.redcross.org.au or call 1800 727 077.
LATROBE CITY COUNCIL UPDATE
Latrobe City Council has secured $50,000 in state government funding to make a head start on the clean up effort. The first initiative to be implemented from this funding will be assisted cleaning for the high needs members of the Morwell community who are registered with Council’s Home and Community Care (HACC) program.
Funding has been used to purchase special filtered vacuum cleaners capable of picking up fine particles, as well as air-purifiers, which will be used by the HACC team to clean the homes of their clients as needed. This initiative follows on from the proactive work that Council has been doing since the fire started, such as increasing the frequency of street cleaning in the most affected areas of Morwell and progressively cleaning public spaces, ahead of a broader clean up.
COMMUNITY VACUUM CLEANERS AVAILABLE TO BORROW
The CFA have purchased several HEPA vacuum cleaners (cleaners that have filters which are made specifically for vacuuming small particles). If you are interested in borrowing one of these to clean around your home, you are able to get them at the following locations:
Morwell Neighbourhood House (two vacuums): 5134 5488
Pro Rent (three vacuums): 5133 6888
Berry Street (three vacuums): 5134 5971
Men's Shed Morwell (two vacuums): 0429 976 503
The CFA Health Support Team (HST), supported by local health professionals is currently undertaking an average of 1600 health checks a day at the Hazelwood power station staging area.
State Coordinator HST, Peter Langridge said the team is working round the clock to measure the levels of carbon monoxide in the blood of mine workers, emergency services personnel and visitors to the staging area.
“The process takes less than a minute and involves a simple test using a Masimo CO-oximeter, which is placed around a finger and gives a percentage reading almost instantly," Mr Langridge said.
“We’ve seen an average of four people every 24 hour period with slightly elevated levels of between five and seven per cent and one to two per day with medium elevated levels.
“Anyone who has a reading of more than eight per cent is assessed by a paramedic and either released to go home and not return for 48 hours, or, if they’re showing any other symptoms, they’re referred to the Latrobe Regional Hospital. This is a quick and efficient method of constantly monitoring personnel who are spending time in or near the mine in the current conditions."
Updated 22/03/14 19:34
Morwell South: Extended periods of smoke likely.
Morwell East: Extended periods of smoke likely.
Moe: Smoke impacts unlikely.
Traralgon: Some smoke impacts possible.
Churchill: Smoke impacts unlikely.
Extended periods of smoke are likely in Morwell during the next 24 hours, mostly at low concentrations, with significant levels of smoke possible for a few hours on Sunday morning. Traralgon may experience some smoke at low concentrations. Smoke impacts are unlikely in Churchill or Moe.
09-03-2014 22:43 Source: http://bit.ly/CFAVIC
Smoke is a mixture of different-sized particles. The larger particles which are visible to the eye contribute to the visible haze when a fire is burning. They are generally too large to be breathed deeply into the lungs but can irritate the nose and throat.
Finer microscopic particles and gases are small enough to be breathed deep into the lungs and can cause health effects.
High levels of smoke can aggravate existing heart or lung conditions and cause irritated eyes, coughing and wheezing. Health professionals should note the predicted smoky conditions and the potential impact on their at risk patients.
To seek advice and make arrangements for temporary relocation call the Department of Human Services on 1800 006 468 or go to www.recovery.vic.gov.au
Who is at risk
Children, the elderly, pregnant women, smokers and people with pre-existing illness such as heart or lung conditions (including asthma) are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in fine particles. Symptoms may worsen and include wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing.
Anyone with a heart or lung condition should follow the treatment plan advised by their doctor and keep at least 5 days supply of medication on hand. People with asthma should follow their personal asthma plan.
Everyone, but particularly those at high risk, should avoid prolonged or heavy physical activity outdoors and keep informed of fire and smoke activity in their immediate area.
Those with symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should seek medical advice promptly. Patients in at risk groups should be advised to consider a break away from areas with high smoke levels.
FREE P2 MASKS
Available at the following locations:
St Vincent de Paul, Latrobe
City Headquarters, Morwell
Library, Morwell Leisure Centre, Morwell
Neighbourhood House, Bendigo Bank, Morwell
Other retail outlets around town
Community Information Points.
For further information about face masks, visit www.health.vic.gov.au/hazelwood/index.htm It’s important to note that face masks only come in one size so be aware children may find them difficult to fit and wear properly.
Places you can seek help/advice
13-03-2014 10:08 Source: CFA Gippsland https://www.facebook.com/cfagippsland
Community Health Assessment Centre
Open daily from 10am to 6pm
Located at Ambulance Victoria Gippsland Regional Office, 2 Saskia Way in Morwell, next to the Mid-Valley Shopping Centre.
Centre staff will be looking at blood pressure, heart rate and some basic respiratory functions. Anyone needing medical care will be referred to their own doctor or the Latrobe Regional Hospital.
Community Information and Recovery Centre
22 Hazelwood Road, Morwell
Opening hours are 9am - 6pm daily.
Freecall 1800 60 60 24
If you have any concerns about your health, give them a call. A qualified nurse will talk to you about your symptoms.
Country Fire Authority (CFA)
Mine fire update 28th Feb (via health.vic.gov.au)
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA)
Air Quality Data for Victoria - an index of over 100 is above standard levels
NEW: Video: Hazelwood Mine Fire Press Conference
Video: Hazelwood open cut mine fire- Community Health Assessment Centre 27-2-2014
More information on the effects of smoke on your health can be found at www.health.vic.gov.au/environment/bushfires
Emergency Relief & Recovery Victoria
Public Transport Victoria
Department of Education - School Closures
Red Cross Australia
Register if you evacuate or relocate or call 1800 727 077
Latrobe City Council
Scouts Victoria is offering free temporary accommodation at popular campsites across Victoria. Call 03 5128 5616
Other useful resources
theconversation.com: Victoria’s coal fire poses a rare challenge for firefighting - a good explanation of the complexities of coal mine fires
CFA Facebook: CFA (Country Fire Authority)
CFA Twitter: @CFA_Updates
CFA Gippsland Facebook: CFA Gippsland
CFA Gippsland Twitter: @CFAGippsland
Department of Health Facebook: Department of Health, Victoria
Department of Health Twitter @VicGovHealth
EPA Victoria @EPA_Victoria