Protect your home from bushfires: Part 2
To ensure your home is safe in a bushfire prone area, look at your building design, know your bushfire plan and commit yourself to ongoing maintenance!
In Part 2 of our bushfire protection story, renowned bushfire advisor and expert Norm Winn advises on the key factors to consider in keeping your home safe in a bushfire area.
Building design for bushfire safetyIt’s important to consider the external lining of the dwelling – using non-combustible materials is essential.
When designing a new home in a bushfire area, remember that a low profile roof provides better defence against a bushfire than a high pitched roof: a high pitched roof provides a larger surface area to any probable flame and radiant heat impact.
Roof penetrations should be protected with spark barriers and be metal rather than PVC or plastic.
Create your own Bushfire PlanA bushfire is a traumatic experience. It’s traumatic to yourself, your family and your home. Once you have your home safely designed in case of fire, the most important thing is to know how to be safe, and get to safety, on the day.
It is essential therefore that each home in a bushfire zone has a Bushfire Plan. Fire authorities throughout Australia provide excellent guidelines for such a Plan, how to create it and how to apply it, and also advise that families leave their homes early on Total Fire Ban and Catastrophic Bushfire Days.
Following the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires Royal Commission findings, many recommendations honed in on people safety and response to preparedness and warnings of potentially high fire danger days. Again, Fire Services throughout the nation provide literature for guidance but bushfire safety is ultimately the responsibility of the individual family. Plan for bushfire safety and be ready to implement that plan.
Maintenance the key to bushfire safetyOne of the most crucial factors in bushfire safety is also one of the simplest: maintenance. It is critical that prior to the Fire Danger Period each year you do all your preparation: cleaning spouts, checking downpipe plugs, ensuring a large enough defendable zone.
You need to make sure that buckets for water are easily available and that all cracks and openings have been sealed or protected with fine metal mesh to stop ember penetration. Most importantly, be sure that your bushfire plan is in place and tested – you need to know how to get yourself and your family out on the day.
More information on fire safetyThe Australian Standard, AS3959 – 2009 [and Amendments], provides the basic guidelines for building in Bushfire Prone areas. Various State Legislative requirements within Planning and Building Regulations, coupled with the Building Code of Australia and Fire Service approvals, both guide and determine Bushfire safety for new and home renovations.
For more information on fire safety, and creating a fire plan, contact your local Fire Brigade or the Fire Service in your State.
Norm Winn is chair of the Australian Standards Committee for Emergency Planning in Facilities. With over 30 years’ experience with the Country Fire Authority and 20 years as a consultant, he runs his own Victoria-based fire safety consultancy, Norm Winn & Associates Pty Ltd.
To Read Part 1 of our bushfire protection story click here
This is the third time I've been to your site. Thnx for posting more details.
Roller Shutter Wollongong 26-Jun-2012 03:02 PM