Get your home ready for bushfire season
Protecting your home now will give you peace of mind and might avert a catastrophe during bushfire season. Take active measures, including retrofitting gutter guards, to boost your chances of enjoying the long, hot summer ahead.
Australia experienced a brief reprieve from intense summers of drought and burning bushland, but the upcoming summer forecast is for a return to hot, dry, hazardous conditions.
Inspector Ben Shepherd from the NSW Rural Fire Service has said that the onus is on property owners, “To ensure that their level of preparedness is at the highest level.”
Curran Plumbing & Electrical can help with your bushfire safety tasks around your home, especially installing gutter guards and rooftop sprinklers.
Watch the video about our roof sprinkler system:
Bushfires on the horizon
Recent bad news about the summer wildfire devastation in Hawaii, Europe, Canada and other parts of the world underscores memories of Australia’s 2019–20 Black Summer. The experience of NSW alone was tragic.
That summer’s extended Bush Fire Danger Period began in August rather than October, so don’t delay. To help ensure your home survives this summer, prepare and plan ahead.
All homeowners should focus on essential upgrades, such as quality gutter guards, and make a bush fire survival plan with household members.
The NSW Rural Fire Service advises, “A well prepared home can also be easier for you or firefighters to defend, and is less likely to put your neighbours’ homes at risk.”
Prepare what you can now to improve bushfire resistance and long-term fire safety.
Outside the house:
- Keep a clear zone around the house.
- Move wood piles and other combustible items away from the house
- Attend to any garages, sheds or outbuildings as well as the main building
- Keep the grass cut
- Water plants, as permitted, and favour plantings of species that are drought resistant and have a low oil content
- Make sure your garden hoses can reach every part of the house or property
- Keep gutters, drains and downpipes clean by removing debris regularly
- Retrofit your home with new fire resistant gutter guards
- Install an exterior roof sprinkler if you live in a bushfire-prone area
- Check if your automatic garage door could be opened manually if the power supply were to fail
- Install a rainwater tank if you haven’t already. Water tanks allow you to keep the garden well-watered for free, even when water restrictions are in place, and can be connected to rooftop sprinkler systems.
- Install a pump to access static water, with a generator in case of power cuts
- Install metal flyscreens on all windows and vents
- Landscape with stone or earth walls that provide a defence barrier if fire approaches.
Inside the house:
- Install smoke alarms if you don’t have them
- It is recommended that you test your smoke alarms every month, replace batteries annually and replace the alarm about every five years
- Install a residential fire sprinkler system inside the home.
Your plan for high fire danger days
Make a Bush Fire Survival Plan for what to do if your area is threatened by bushfire. On the NSW Rural Fire Service website you can make your plan online. Remember that local ember attacks can cause as much destruction as a fire front on your property.
Following are some of the important jobs to include in your household planning.
Outside the house:
- Remove doormats and wooden furniture near the home
- Ensure gutters are free of debris, plug drains and fill with water
- Have a fire extinguisher at hand
- Check your access to a static water supply and have buckets and pumps on standby
- Put up a Static Water Supply sign (SWS) sign if you have a rainwater tank, dam or swimming pool with a minimum reserve of 5,000 litres, which firefighters could use in an emergency.
Inside the house:
- Go over your fire safety plan with all householders so they know what to do
- Make sure everyone is dressed in protective clothing
- Fill bath, sinks and buckets with water
- Put wet towels in gaps around closed doors and window-frames to repel flying embers
- Wet down problem areas
- Take down curtains and push furniture to the centre of the room
- Keep a ladder at hand to access the ceiling cavity if required.
Simple life-saving installations – gutter guards and rooftop sprinklers
With an estimated 85% per cent of fires caused by ember attacks rather than direct flames (RFS), it pays to prioritise measures to ward off flying embers. High winds can blow in embers from a bushfire that is 100 metres away and cause a roof fire that destroys your home. Keeping your roof cool, damp and free of combustibles is the key.
We can help you retrofit your home with new fire resistant gutter guards that meet Australian standards, such as locally made All-Flow Aluminium Gutter Mesh. Curran Plumbing recommends these newer gutter guards as they are rust resistant and the weave provides better coverage. The protective mesh will ensure that leaves, twigs, bark and dirt don’t build up in the first place. It will also be easier to fill gutters with water from your hose if a bushfire approaches. The mesh can also repel embers that land on the roof.
We can also install a sprinkler system on the roof exterior. Curran Plumbing recommends installing a sprinkler system that suits Australian conditions and has metal rather than plastic fittings. A functioning sprinkler will reduce the impact of embers, sparks and radiant heat. For extra protection in difficult scenarios where the power is cut and the mains water supply reduced to a trickle, have the sprinkler connected to a water tank with a pump that can be operated by a generator.
Stay in fire safety awareness mode
With bushfire season making everyone more aware of home fire protection measures, it is a good time to assess your home’s year-round vulnerability to a domestic fire. The FRNSW website has more details on what you can do, including installing residential fire sprinklers inside the home to improve the safety of occupants.
We can help equip your home
Contact Curran Plumbing & Electrical for more details on gutter guard retrofits, smoke alarm installations, water tanks and rooftop sprinkler systems.