"NSW... Are You Bushfires Ready?"

  Oh No! NSW is under attack!!!!!

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...No it’s not a war or some sort of alien attack but it’s something we still need to concern about. Bushfires, people. It’s the bushfires that have been attacking us for the past few weeks. Over 600 firefighters fought the battle, hundreds of houses burnt, and the blazes are still going on until today, at this second. Some even record it as the worst and the most dangerous bushfires NSW had in at least 45 years. Can you imagine?

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poor koalas :(

It's quite a relieve though that recently the warning has been downgraded. BUT. Government has advised that residents not to become “complacent” of the threat. Bushfires can happen anytime and with climate change like this it can be even more extreme. Following this catastrophic destruction thousands are left homeless and those who are living in these area and are lucky enough not to get affected are advised to reassess their preparedness.

How can we do it? Well, upgrading your house is one of the ways. If you are fully aware that your house is located within the bushfires area it’s time to take a closer on what you can actually do to minimise the risk.

This diagram is published by Australian government and I think it’s very helpful. It’s categorized to fit your budget so you can start from the smallest thing!

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On top of that, it may quite effective as well if you look it to the construction of your building.

Our source indicates that there are 7 main components of the house that you can improve to anticipate the risk of being burned by bushfires. Taken straight from Building Commission Victoria, check these tips on how to retrofit you building!

1) Flooring System

Enclose sub floors with suitable materials or construct the floor and structure with non-combustible materials to provide resistance to bushfire where the flooring is less than 400mm above the ground.

2) Walls & Fascias

- Replace or cover external surfaces of walls that are less than 400mm above the ground, decks, carport roofs, awnings and similar elements or fittings having an angle less than 18 degrees to the horizontal and extending greater than 110mm in width with:

  • Non-combustible materials; or (such as masonry, brick veneer, mud brick,concrete, aerated concrete, etc)
  • Fibre cement external cladding with a 6mm minimum thickness; or
  • Timber or steel-framed walls that are sarked on the outside of the frame and clad with Fibre cement external cladding with a 6mm minimum thickness; or Steel sheet
  • Bushfire resisting timber as specified in AS 3959 Appendix
  • Combination of above

- Cover, seal, overlap, back or butt-joint all joints in the external surface material of walls to prevent gaps greater than 3mm.

- Apply sarking-type material over the outer face of the building frame prior to re-fixing of any external cladding.

3) Windows (including skylights)

  • Protect window assemblies with  External screens 1 or  Bushfire shutters.
  • External hardware to windows required for opening should be metal
  • Where fitted, screens for windows and doors should comply with AS 3959 and have a mesh or perforated sheet with a maximum aperture of 2mm and made of corrosion-resistant steel, bronze or aluminium

4) External Doors

Protect side hung external doors with one of the following:

  • External screens
  • Bushfire shutters
  • Neither if it’s non combustible.
  • External hardware to doors required for opening should be metal.
  • Glazing in doors should comply with the glazing requirements for windows.

5) Vents & Weepholes

Seal vents, weepholes and other openings greater than 3 mm in external walls with a mesh having a maximum aperture of 2mm and made of corrosion-resistant steel, bronze or aluminium.

6) Roofs

  • Check roof tiles, sheets and covering accessories are non-combustible
  • Seal the roof and wall junction to fill gaps greater than 3mm, either by the use of fascia and eaves linings or by sealing the top of the wall to the rafters at the line of the wall.
  • Fit ember guards over roof ventilations points (such as gable and roof vents) with non-combustible material, mesh or perforated sheet
  • Fully sark sheet and tiled roofs

 7) Eaves, gutter and downpipes

  • Protect eaves penetrations as per roof penetrations.
  • Ensure box gutters are non-combustible and flashed at the junction with the roof with non-combustible material.
  • Where installed, check gutters and valley leaf guards are non-combustible.
  • Gables should be protected as per the requirements for walls.
  • Above-ground, exposed water and gas supply pipes should be metal.

Hope these help!

Well, it won't guarantee that your house will survive the bushfires but it's always good to be prepared.

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