How to protect your home in a bushfire
Australia is the lucky country in so many ways, but our weather conditions can often be very harsh. The combination of high temperatures, low relative humidity and strong winds can create ideal conditions for the rapid spread of fires in rural and semi-rural areas. It’s not just properties in the direct path of a fire that can be affected. During a bushfire many homes are damaged or set-alight by ember attack, where burning twigs and leaves carried by the wind land on or around a property.
When thinking about ways to protect your home from a potential bushfire, it’s important to consider two phases:
- Preparation– precautions you can take ahead of time
- Escape – what to do when you need to evacuate
According to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), you may only have as little as 15 seconds to escape a house fire, so quick and decisive actions are critical for your safety. Preparation is key to ensuring the best outcome for your home and your family. This list provides a handy starting point.
- Install metal gutter guards and clear out leaves
- Repair damaged or missing tiles on the roof
- Install fine metal mesh screens on windows and doors to protect from ash and debris (there’s more info on this below)
- Fit seals around doors and windows to eliminate gaps
- Enclose areas under the house
- Repair or cover gaps in external walls
- Attach a fire sprinkler system to gutters
- Keep your garden well maintained and clear of debris
- Keep flammable items away from your house (wood piles, mulch and paint)
- Cut back trees and shrubs overhanging buildings
- Ensure outside items are non-combustible and that the pressure relief valves on LPG cylinders face outwards
- Ensure you have smoke alarms installed that match the current legislation, and they are working and properly maintained.
According to the Queensland Fire & Emergency Service it is vital to take precautions to protect yourself, your family, and your home by creating a fire escape plan. Practice this plan regularly under various conditions, including at night, with the light off, standing and on all fours. The QFES provides comprehensive information on this on their website but the key steps are as follows:
- Alert others
- Follow your escape route
- Exit via a door or window
- Move to the room furthest from the fire if you can’t get out
- Meet at an agreed safe stop
- Call Triple 0 (000)
Building a barrier with fire attenuation screens
A substantial step you can take towards better protecting your home form bushfires is to upgrade your doors and windows with fire attenuation screens from Crimsafe. Here’s why:
- Crimsafe screens provide excellent protection from ember attack, reduces radiant heat and will protect glass from the impact of burning debris
- Crimsafe has tested its security screens to meet the highest levels in bushfire protection, and can be used in bushfire prone areas up to and including those rated BAL-FZ
- Crimsafe’s Tensile-Tuff® stainless steel mesh is specially designed to a size and shape (1.5mm x 1.5mm aperture) that meets the requirements of the Australian Standard AS 3959-2009 bushfire protection guidelines and prevents ember penetration during bushfires
- Crimsafe has designed Safe-S-Capes®, a keyless emergency exit system that secures your windows against intruders, but still allows you to get out quickly and easily if you need to. Safe-S-Capes can be hinged or sliding, making them suitable to fit hinged, sash or sliding windows. The one-touch release system ensures your fast escape, without compromising the exceptionally strong security that Crimsafe is known for.
Don’t be caught out by thinking it won’t happen to me. As we enter bushfire season, it’s vital to plan ahead to take every step to safeguard your home and family.