After the fires: the Impacts of the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires on the Wellbeing of Emergency Services Personnel
The bushfires of the 2019-20 Australian Black Summer fire season saw widespread destruction caused by fires of unprecedented magnitude, duration and intensity. In total, 33 lives were lost, more than 3,000 homes were destroyed, wildlife was decimated, and over 20 million hectares of community and farming land and national parks were burnt. All Australian states and territories were affected, with the most significant impact felt in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. With a warming and drying climate, there is increasing risk of future extreme fire seasons. One important aspect of preparing for future fire seasons is ensuring the wellbeing of personnel who are called on to respond to the fires and protect our communities.
After the Fires aimed to investigate the impacts of the bushfires on emergency services personnel, address key gaps in knowledge about how to foster resilience and coping, and investigate how to deliver effective support for mental health and wellbeing to Australian bushfire first responders. Over 4,000 personnel across fire and rescue, rural fire and state emergency service (SES) agencies across Australia participated in the After the Fires survey. Survey data have been weighted to represent the full population of emergency services personnel in Australia.
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