Bushfires, heat and smoke have made this an exceptionally tough Christmas and New Year for many in the ANU community, and current predictions are for difficult conditions to persist over the coming week.
I want to assure you that ANU is well prepared for an emergency and we are actively monitoring conditions. We will provide updates as needed via email, our official @ANUmedia twitter account and our website.
The Acton and Siding Spring campuses will open tomorrow as planned but Mount Stromlo Observatory and Kioloa are closed as a precautionary measure until Monday 6 January.
Air quality in the ACT is currently a health hazard and staff and students are urged to follow the advice of the ACT Health Directorate, which publishes up-to-date air quality information and health guidance on its website [go to www.health.act.gov.au ] and on Twitter at @ACTHealth. If you are due to return to work but judge it is safer for you to stay at home and work then you should do so, but please let your supervisor know (where possible).
Everyone is strongly encouraged to stay up-to-date with emergency advice.
The ACT Emergency Services Authority has asked that all people in Canberra and surrounds familiarise themselves with the ESA website at esa.act.gov.au or social media accounts and download the "Fires Near Me" app to their phone. For those outside of the ACT and surrounds, please check the relevant State emergency authority website. The ABC is the emergency broadcaster [go to www.abc.net.au/news/emergency].
In all circumstances, please prioritise your own safety and that of your family by making sure your fire plan is up-to-date and remain aware of the danger where you are, bearing in mind circumstances can change quickly.
These fires have seriously affected many in our community, especially in our surrounding region and the beautiful South Coast and mountain areas held so dear to us. Our thoughts are with those affected.
This is a difficult summer, and it is important we care for ourselves and one another.
ANU provides all staff with access to support and counselling through the Employee Assistance program 1800 808 374. Students can access support via ANU Crisis Support Line on1300 050 327 or via SMS Text message service on 0488 884 170.
Professor Mike Calford