While members of the community are understandably keen to return to their properties and sift through fire-damaged material, they need to be aware of the associated health risks.
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District issued health information and advice to South Coast community members currently in, or returning to, areas impacted by bushfires yesterday, reminding residents and their families to take extra precautions when returning to homes and properties affected by bushfires.
Community members should not sift through fire-damaged material until it has been inspected and verified to be free of asbestos and other hazardous material.
Building and structures burnt in bushfires can leave potential health and safety hazards in the remaining rubble and ash.
These include asbestos, ash from burnt-treated timbers, medicines, garden or farm chemicals, household chemicals and cleaning products, damaged gas bottles, metal and other residues from burnt household appliances as well as ash and dust.
Fibres can also become trapped on clothing and other items and transported off-site.
Licensed contractors from NSW Public Works are progressively working through fire-affected areas in the Shoalhaven as quickly as they can.
For more information on your property, call 1800 88 55 39.
More information on property hazards following a bushfire can be found on the SafeWork NSW website.