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‘Consider the consequences of being outside’

NSW continues to burn, and it is critical that residents properly manage smoke inhalation, says St John Ambulance.

The people of NSW have again woken up to a smoke-filled sky, resulting in poor air quality and hazardous levels of pollution. 

There are “very high fire danger warnings” issued for Greater Sydney, Far North Coast, North Coast, Greater Hunter, Illawarra and Shoalhaven, Central Ranges, New England, Northern Slopes and North-Western fire areas, and St John Ambulance NSW is reminding people to act cautiously, particularly those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions. 

Speaking about the worsening conditions, St John Ambulance NSW CEO Sarah Lance said: “Bushfire smoke will continue to worsen the air quality today, so it is important for people to consider the consequences of being outside.”

“Reducing exposure to smoke by staying indoors with the doors and windows shut and air-conditioning on can help to filter out smoke.”

Ms Lance explained the importance for people with asthma, emphysema, angina or heart conditions to follow their medical management plans and keep medication close. 

“It’s equally important that people know how to help someone around them who might be having asthma-related issues. By reassuring them, sitting them upright, asking if they have an asthma action plan, helping administer medication and calling 000 can mean the difference between life and death,” she says.

With such catastrophic conditions, it is imperative today to be wary of the signs and symptoms around smoke irritation and manage inhalation and asthma accordingly, the ambulance service said.

Responders from St John Ambulance have been deployed across the state to provide first aid treatment at Rural Fire Service base camps and evacuation centres. 

“Our teams have managed a range of issues, including burns, respiratory problems and fatigue. This means we can help to reduce the demand on paramedics and keep our hospitals for those emergency situation,” said Ms Lance. 

“We’ve also got responders providing emotional support to people in evacuation centres who are having an incredibly difficult time.”

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