How you can help during Victoria’s bushfires

Published: 10 January 2020

In Victoria emergency relief effort is being run by experienced organisations who have provided the information below on how people can help.

Donations

The Bushfire Disaster Appeal

A Bushfire Disaster Appeal has been established in support community members affected by the recent bushfires.

Donations to the can be made via the Bushfire Disaster Appeal website or at any Bendigo Bank branch. The appeal will be conducted by the Bendigo Bank’s charitable arm, Community Enterprise Foundation.

All donations of $2 or more are tax deductible and donors will be provided with a tax receipt through the Foundation.

The appeal provides a formal channel for the public to donate money directly to affected communities and is designed to achieve positive outcomes for the community, by working directly with local recovery committees and structures to inform and drive the distribution of funds.

Funds raised will be used in a range of locally identified charitable areas to provide relief and recovery in the fire affected areas.

Material goods

Emergency management personnel are working with local councils in the affected areas to assess the needs of their communities.

The best way to help is by donating money to a registered not-for-profit organisation helping with the relief and recovery effort or to the Bushfire Disaster Appeal.

At this stage, donations of furniture or any other hard goods are not needed and cannot be stored or sorted. Please hold onto your donations until those affected know what they need.

Experience tells us that donation of money is much more effective and provides more flexibility than the donation of material items or pre-loved goods.

Find or offer free emergency housing

Airbnb's Open Homes Program helps communities band together in the wake of a disaster.

If you’ve been displaced or are helping with relief efforts, you can book free accommodation between 2 January 2020 and 16 January 2020.

More information can be found on the Airbnb website.

Donation of Fodder

Feeding animals is a huge challenge for farmers affected by the fires.

Landholders needing emergency fodder for livestock or those wanting to donate fodder should contact the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) on 1300 882 833 between 9am and 5pm or email fodder@vff.org.au.

Volunteering

We are extremely grateful for the significant number of offers to assist with the current fire response and recovery effort. Please note that volunteers must complete training before they can be deployed to assist with emergency response and recovery activities.

Local councils

If you are local to a fire impacted area, the local council may be taking on volunteers in the coming weeks so check with your local council website for more information. Local councils are focused on supporting people who are currently in the fire impacted area and they do not have the capacity to receive volunteers from outside of the local area at this stage.

Red Cross

Red Cross lists volunteer roles on their website. You’ll need to apply and complete training before you can be sent into an emergency response.

Community recovery is complex and takes place over an extended period of time. Volunteers will be involved in the recovery effort for many months to come, but Red Cross does not need additional volunteers at this time.

If you are interested in volunteering to help in future emergencies, please go to the Red Cross website and start the process to register and train as a future volunteer.

Donations of money is the best form of help (goods are not required), you can donate via the Red Cross website.

You can raise funds locally in your own community. Register your fundraising activity on the Red Cross website.

CFA

During this time of high fire activity the usual timeframe to recruit new volunteers may be delayed due to logistics and vital safety training required for operating on firegrounds.

To assist during this fire season visit the Supporting CFA website page to find out how you can help support fire-affected communities.

Wildlife rescue during emergencies

Fire grounds are dangerous, even after the fire front has passed - do not enter fire-affected areas to search for wildlife. The Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning (DELWP) leads and manages all activities for fire-affected wildlife impacted as part of an Incident Management Team and has trained wildlife officers who will work on the fire ground with accredited volunteers to help wildlife when it is safe to do so.

If you would like to volunteer to be a wildlife carer, there is some mandatory DELWP training and accreditation you will need. More information is on the DELWP website.

What if I find an injured animal?

  • If you find an injured native animal, the best thing you can do to help it is to contact an authorised wildlife shelter which will have the training and facilities to care for the animal.
  • Details of wildlife carers can be obtained by calling DELWP on 136 186 or via the DELWP website
  • Following a fire, wildlife sightings in your area or on roads may increase. These animals may be stressed, disorientated or injured.
  • It is not recommended that you attempt to catch injured wildlife due to the risk of further injury to wildlife or to you.
  • If you have no other option, approach the animal with caution, keep physical interaction to a minimum and immediately take the animal to a vet or to an authorised wildlife shelter for assessment and care.
  • It’s an offence under the Wildlife Act 1975 to keep native wildlife at home - unless you are trained wildlife carer the animal may not get the specialised care it needs.

Information on relief and recovery for fire-affected communities is available on the Vic Emergency website: