Monday, January 27, 2014

Home defenders and water needs

A garden sprayer - particularly to have available atop your ladder at the roof-ceiling inspection hole for firing water at sparks and embers in that awkward space, where it would be impossible to wield a mop – and/or knapsack are also very useful during home defence.
So is a long handled household mop.
The idea of householders using a wetted mop to douse embers instead of throwing a heavy bucket-full, was first proposed by Dr Robert Leicester of CSIRO’s Division of Building Research in Highett, Melbourne, and passed on to me by personal communication when that department was assisting my with my research for The Complete Australian Bushfire Book (1986), in which it was first suggested to the public:

“Bushfires have been beaten away from buildings with no better equipment than green branches and wet bags.  Dr R. H. Leicester of the CSIRO Safety and Risk Program has estimated that an active person, armed with a smoke mask, mop and 1,000 litres of water (about four 44 gallon drums or seven baths’ full) should have little difficulty in coping with the spot ignitions caused by burning embers.  But the more you can afford in modern fire suppression facilities, the more chance of your home or business surviving an intense wildfire.  All bushfire research authorities agree that most people who have been prepared for bushfire and made sure they have a dependable water supply and who understand what to do with it stand a good chance of saving their homes and surviving.
 "Many people who lost their homes on Ash Wednesday 1983, despite otherwise good precautions, had no reserve water supply.
“Many people who lost their homes on Ash Wednesday 1983, despite otherwise good precautions, had no reserve water supply.  At Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria, a distressed householder reported to Drs Geraldine Lazarus and Joy Elley of the NCRFR how he had set up a pump by his swimming pool, forgetting that the electricity had gone off.  His wife put water in the bath and basin, while his sons filled a 44-gallon drum which they then placed on the lawn.  When a spot fire hit they found they had to use buckets because the electrical pump wouldn't work.  One hose melted and the other had no pressure.  'We could have saved the house if we had had water,' he said.  Another had a swimming pool but no pump.  Many who began to bucket water from pools or tanks reported that plastic rubbish bins and buckets disintegrated in their hands. Heat around the homes would not have reached this intensity had the surrounding vegetation been thinned.” (Extracted from The Complete Bushfire Safety Book)
Details of  water facilities appropriate to individual needs are given in both The Complete Bushfire Safety Book and Essential Bushfire Safety Tips (CSIRO).