In all states of Australia, the bushfire season has begun. This summer will be confronting, so assess your situation and take action to safeguard your place of residence. Remember, water is one of your best weapons, and plumbing services can help with your defence against fire.
If you live in bushfire-prone areas, you have probably completed your Bush Fire Survival Plan. However, history has shown us that bushfires can threaten even those residences in waterside districts or in large metropolitan cities like Sydney. Think defensively about the places where you live, work or holiday in terms of a bushfire threat, and get prepared.
The Rural Fire Service of NSW advises, “Even if your plan is to leave early, the more you prepare your home, the more likely it will survive a bush fire or ember attack. 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. A well-prepared home will also give you more protection if a fire threatens suddenly and you cannot leave.”
It is important to remember that the combination of high winds and bushfire embers can bring the threat of fire close in a short space of time, so extinguishing small spot fires quickly is an essential job.
Roof and gutters
PREPARE THE GUTTERS
Clear the gutters on buildings roofs, including shed roofs. On bushfire-risk days, use the hose to wet the roof and fill the gutters with water. Keep a fire extinguisher on standby.
INSTALL SAFE GUTTERS AND A ROOF SPRINKLER SYSTEM
Older roof guttering systems can be a real weak spot during bushfires. Have a professional plumber replace box gutters or any combustible gutters and gutter valleys. Install aluminium gutter mesh, such as All-Flow Gutter Mesh, that will not rust or burn, comes with a warranty and meets the Australian standards for gutter guard bushfire attack levels that councils in bushfire-prone areas require.
Have a roof sprinkler system installed by a plumber to reduce the impact of radiant heat, sparks and embers. Make sure it has metal rather than plastic fittings.
ASSURE YOUR ACCESS TO WATER
You may have identified water taps and hydrants on your bushfire plan, but there can be a significant drop in water pressure during the crucial moments of a bushfire emergency. This is where static water sources really help, such as rainwater tanks, swimming pools or dams. Keep buckets on hand to help, but for much greater efficiency install a water pump.
INSTALL WATER PUMPS
Install a water pump and connect it to the rainwater tank.
An easy-to-use generator that can operate the pump could be a vital addition for scenarios where the mains power is cut and water pressure drops.
Help out the Fireys by identifying your Static Water Sources (SWS). The family pool can become an emergency water supply for firefighters, using small portable pumps and hose lines, and is available even if you aren’t around to defend your home. Prominently display a SWS plate at your property boundary flagging a swimming pool, water tank or dam that has a minimum reserve of 5,000 litres.
Lawns and garden hoses
HYDRATE THE GARDEN
Clear away any debris such as dry leaves, weeds, branches or rubbish that may act as fuel for a fire. Keep the lawn, plants and trees as well-watered as possible – rainwater tanks are especially useful here in times of water restrictions.
Make sure your garden hose extends to the perimeter of the property if you live on an average block and that the hose, fittings and hose reel are in working order.
INSTALL A RAINWATER TANK AND WATER-WISE GARDEN
Purchase a rainwater tank if you haven’t already, they are good for the veggie garden, the environment, water bills and defending against fires. Have it installed by a plumber who can then connect it to other equipment such as a pump or roof sprinkler.
Make a long-term defendable zone around the house. The SACFS recommends “Reduce, remove and manage vegetation such as long grass within 20 metres of your home and within 5 metres of any sheds and garages.” Landscape the zone so that a stone wall, earth barrier, or fence can act as a radiant heat shield.
When planting new trees, choose species with a low oil content and a high water and salt content.
If you are concerned about the summer ahead, contact Curran Plumbing today for advice on upgrading your roof gutters, hoses and pumps and installing water tanks and sprinkler systems.