Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Fireproof Homes; Home Owners Worried by the Calamity in Victoria Can Take Some Simple Steps to Protect Their Property in the Event of a Bushfire. Rachel Mather Reports

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Fireproof Homes; Home Owners Worried by the Calamity in Victoria Can Take Some Simple Steps to Protect Their Property in the Event of a Bushfire. Rachel Mather Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: RACHEL MATHER

WHILE fire hysteria has emerged since the country witnessed the devastation of the recent Victoria bushfires, fears of losing the family home can be eased, with a bit of simple planning.

Gavin Thistlethwaite, of Caloundra Fire Station, said if Sunshine Coast residents fireproofed their homes, the danger of losing them would be greatly lessened.

"I can't say we won't ever get fires like those in Victoria, but the conditions here are different," Gavin said. "If people do take the precautions and do the pre-planning, they will be more prepared in the event of a bushfire and the risk is lessened."

He said that while the fire services ran preparedness talks every year around July or August, he advised people to take the simple steps now.

"Things like making sure the gutters are clear and, if there's a known fire, removing flammable items from outside the house or on verandahs is a good start," he said.

While some housing materials are more prone to catching alight than others, simple measures such as painting old wooden surfaces may help prevent embers from setting the house alight.

"It really depends on the surface, but generally if there is unpainted wooden surfaces and the house is older, if embers reach it, it will burn faster," Gavin said.

John Miller, of Paint City in Maroochydore, said fire-retardant paints were on the market for use on both the interior and exterior of buildings.

"Anti-retardant paint will eventually burn, but it won't catch fire for at least an hour or two, giving you time to evacuate the home or for the fire department to come and contain any fire," Mr Miller said.

He said fire-retardant paints also were available to coat fabrics, such as curtains and soft furnishings, around doors and windows.

Pat Assaillit, of Dwyer Quality Homes in Kawana Waters, said people building homes should refer to the Building Codes of Queensland, which outlined certain construction requirements for houses built in high fire-risk areas.

"Things like putting steel caps in the weep holes of brickwork to prevent embers from entering and not having any exposed combustible material on the outside of the home are pretty standard fire preventatives," Pat said. …

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