After ash fell from the sky this morning, December 6, both Surf Beach Child Care Centre and SDN Batemans Bay Preschool kept children inside.
Batemans Bay and Moruya hospitals are on extra alert for respiratory issues today, after an increase in bushfire smoke has blanketed the region.
At about 12pm, director of SDN Batemans Bay Preschool Bec Lester said the sky had cleared enough for children to go outside.
"Only now the children have gone outside to have a picnic on the grass," she said.
Ms Lester is one of thousands of residents who were advised to evacuate or prepare to stay and act yesterday. She lives on the north side of Batemans Bay.
"It was a hard decision to make, we weren't sure what to do, we packed up and are staying at a friends place," she said.
Out of the preschool's 75 families, 23 have been affected by the fires. Ms Lester said staff are focused on providing "normality" for children whose families have evacuated.
"It's about supporting them and their families; having normality in their lives with a sense of belonging," she said.
Surf Beach Child Care Centre staff member Jo Hudson said asthmatic children are staying inside whilst others are spending shorter lengths outside.
"This morning, the smoke was really bad, but now it has cleared away a bit," Ms Hudson said.
She said it was important for children to get time outside as they become restless.
"We are getting them outside in shorter stints," she said.
Schools and child care centres in north Batemans Bay are closed today.
People are urged to be aware of potential health concerns during the ongoing fires across the state.
Fires in the state's north, as well as the large bushfire and ongoing back-burning at Currowan in the northern Eurobodalla are seeing smoke continuing to shroud the coast.
Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) is urging people with respiratory conditions in particular to take extra care, as poor air quality caused by bushfires may affect their breathing.
People are advised to take precautions and stay indoors to avoid irritations to the eyes, nose and throat, and to avoid aggravating existing lung and heart conditions. Older adults and people with heart and lung conditions are most susceptible to the effects of air pollution and excessive smoke.
Tips to stay safe when smoke is around
SNSWLHD outlined a range of simple tips to help stay safe and healthy during the smoke/poor air quality:
- People with asthma, heart disease and other lung and heart conditions should avoid vigorous outdoor physical activity when smoke is around.
- Staying indoors with the doors and windows shut is an effective way of reducing exposure to smoke.
- People with asthma or a lung condition should follow their Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Action Plan and carry their relieving medication with them. If your symptoms do not settle, seek medical advice.
- In case of emergency always dial Triple Zero.
If smoky conditions are prolonged for several days or more:
- Keep doors and windows of your home closed while smoke is about and take advantage of any breaks in the smoky conditions to air out your home.
- If possible, spend some time in air-conditioning with the air-conditioner set to recirculate indoor air.
- Consider postponing outdoor events, especially sporting and other physically active events.
- Avoid indoor sources of air pollution like candles, incense, and wood burning heaters.
For more information, Health NSW has this factsheet on bushfire smoke