Could Fire Shelters be a good idea?

March 20, 2012 6:54 pm

Are Fire Shelters a Good Idea for Bushfire Protection?

Most people have heard of the Victoria bushfire incident, where hundreds of properties were destroyed and a lot of lives were lost as a result. Because of this disaster, it really is no wonder why so many people have been asking what they could have done to save their lost loved ones from this threat. One suggestion that always seems to resurface would be the use of fire-shelters.

The Policy of Bushfire Threats

Within the last few years, authorities have depended on the policy of staying or leaving. Basically, whenever there was a high-fire risk, homeowners were encouraged to either be properly prepared to protect their houses or leave before the bushfire got to their houses.

Unfortunately, the Victoria bushfire incident was so intense that it overwhelmed that policy completely. No matter how well-prepared some homeowners were, they simply weren’t able to fend off the fire. Conversely, homeowners who tried to leave got caught by Bushfires sprouting up nearby.

Right now, a lot of experts have predicated even more ferocious bushfire incidents due to the advent of prolonged droughts and global warming as of late. Because of this, more and more Australians are starting to think about a good building design for a fire shelter in order to save themselves from bushfire threats.

The Presence of Fire Shelters in Today’s Market

A quick search through the World Wide Web shows that various businesses have already anticipated a general interest in fire shelters as they now offer various kinds to those in need of them. These shelters tend to vary in sophistication, price and building design, and may come in the form of a mere hole underground that is lined with sandbags or timber; a converted shipping container; or a purpose-built fire shelter made from fire rated steel and reinforced concrete. Although a lot of these shelters look sturdy and strong, it must be said that there are no approved standards when it comes to their design so far, though. Also, only the construction materials on their own can be fire rated.

The Need for Fire Shelters

Back in the day, people believed that fire shelters were only needed for the first fifteen minutes of the fire’s passing since that is when the heat reaches its peak. However, experts who studied the Victoria bushfire incident now estimate that this heat could actually be fatal up to two hours after its first passing.

With this in mind, anybody who wants to buy a fire shelter needs to make sure that it can withstand prolonged heat exposure while providing enough clean air at the same time. Some shelters out there have air tanks in them, while others have air filtering systems. Oxygen tanks, however, should be completely avoided since oxygen can be very explosive in the presence of sparks and embers.

Overall, people in need of fire shelters will have to take various factors into consideration before making their final decision, including the cost, the threat level and the amount of people that will need it. So, make sure you do enough research and consider all of your choices with the utmost care.