Bushfire bunkers

After my initial design which was the cheapest option, simply using concrete and the earth to avoid the fire with necessities and oxygen available inside to protect people, and the location would be in between properties to save on cost I have been inspired by Tilly’s approach and I am going to create an aesthetically pleasing one not just for survival but also pleasure.

This means a bit more research so here are some articles so far.

http://candobetter.org/node/1047

Talks about the old bushfire bunkers designed to suck in oxygen from the early 1900s.

“So you could use a combination of materials like that so you could actually take advantage of the insulating value of timber as well as concrete to come up with something that might work well, but might look okay aesthetically.”

Bushfire Bunkers a death trap.

Bushfire bunkers may be death traps

What research has CSIRO done on fire bunkers?

CSIRO is not currently conducting research into bushfire bunkers or shelters. Previous research by the Department of Defence indicated that underground bunkers may not be safe in bushfires due to the accumulation of toxic gases coming from a bushfire itself.

Bunkers were recommended and used around the time of the 1939 Black Friday bushfires to provide some shelter to mill workers who had no other protection from bushfires when working in the forests. Current research indicates that a well designed and prepared house can provide adequate protection (see question ‘is a house safe in a bushfire’) during a bushfire.

The use, design and efficacy of current era bunkers has not been investigated by CSIRO.

As with any form of bushfire refuge, bushfire bunkers must be assessed in an overall context taking into consideration issues such as:

  • expected bushfire behaviour
  • design and construction criteria
  • preparation and maintenance
  • intended and probable use of the bunker
  • establishing a safe path to the bunker.

As well as the technical issues, there are a range of other considerations including:

  • decision making processes and education around when to retreat to the bunker
  • when to close off a bunker
  • how long to remain in the bunker
  • how to determine when it is safe to exit the bunker.

CSIRO has the capability to engage in the underpinning science for future policy and regulation development covering issues like:

  • circumstances where a bunker may or may not be appropriate
  • position of the bunker and its proximity to other objects
  • designing a bunker
  • maintenance and safety considerations.

Areas of bushfire research CSIRO has been involved in include:

  • performance of buildings and materials under fire exposure conditions
  • integrated town planning and house design for sustainability and bushfire survival
  • robustness and role played by residential fence systems and water storage tanks in bushfire prone areas
  • product development, verification and enhancement for use in bushfire-prone areas (specialist coatings, glazing protection, timber deck design)
  • assessing house vulnerability and bushfire risk at the urban interface
  • understanding bushfire behaviour and risk
  • analysis of major bushfire events
  • fire detection technology
  • controlled burning programs
  • enhancing firefighter and community safety
  • aerial and ground suppression
  • managing fire in different vegetation types
  • the effects of bushfire burnovers on passenger vehicles
  • design and performance of fire vehicle protection systems on bushfire burnovers.

“Some particular areas of this state, as a consequence of habitat and topography … are indefensible from a fire-fighting point of view,” he said.

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