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Warning over prolonged exposure to bush fire smoke

We cannot underestimate the health implications of prolonged smoke exposure caused by the bush fires, says Dr Mike Freelander.

The federal MP for Macarthur is calling on the government to tackle what he says is a public health emergency.

“The ramifications for individual’s respiratory health that this national crisis has caused cannot be underestimated,’’ he says.

“We need to carefully consider the health implications of prolonged smoke exposure, and we need to provide for research facilities to track these long term implications.

“This crisis is unprecedented and the government needs to make a priority of ensuring that first responders, victims’ families, school children, and other affected individuals have access to specialist care, especially where mental health is concerned,’’ Dr Freelander said.

 “It is crucial that the Commonwealth and State Governments engage with and support Primary Health Networks to ensure that adequate resources are deployed on the ground. 

“As with many health issues, it is essential that the health of affected communities is constantly monitored and medical services and treatments are maintained until recovery.’’

Earlier this week Dr Freelander met with Wollondilly Mayor Matthew Deeth and Councillor Robert Khan to express support for Wollondilly residents during the bushfire crisis.

Dr Freelander was also given an RFS briefing (pictured above), which was organised by the mayor.

“I was able to thank all the emergency services personnel for all that they do to protect us all,’’ Dr Freelander said.

“There is some respite at present but the fires are still burning and we must remain vigilant.

“Many Macarthur residents holiday all along the south coast and we feel so much for all so severely impacted.

“My thoughts are with all of those who have been affected by this tragedy and with the emergency services personnel and volunteers who are working to protect us all every day.

“If there is anything that I or my office can do to help please let us know.’’

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