Fire shields deploy faster than most people expect. There are some things to keep in mind that will make it easier and safer to protect your home during a bushfire or wildfire event.
How much do I need?
This varies greatly but isn't too hard to work out. We recommend covering all areas when possible. If this isn't feasible, try to determine which areas are not fire proof and/or most likely to be affected. If you are certain from which side the fire will approach, you may want to wrap that first. Keep in mind it's better to have a little too much of the Fire Shield, than not enough.
1. Measure the roof
Measure from the highest point down to the gutter and include enough to cover under the eave and down the wall for about 30cm.
2. Measure each wall
Ground to eave, measure the exact size. Allow for the Fire Shield to go cover your windows and doors. Remove any sharp wall hangings you may have. Allow for 10cm overlap onto the ground to ensure cover.
3. Measure any odd/corners/nooks not included in your measurements.
I.e. measure EVERYTHING that needs to be covered.
4. Add up all measurements and add 10% for overlaps.
5. Compare your figure to the size of 1 roll of Fire Shield (139m2) and determine how many you need.
When in doubt, go for one extra.
Small home example:
1. The roof is approximately 52m2 on one side and 54m2 on the back.
2. Each side is 16m long by 2.8m high.
Making for a total of 2.8 x 16 x 2 = 89.6m2
3. The front and back are each 19m2.
We'll go ahead and wrap the chimney as well, adding 2m2.
In total this makes 52+54+89.6+19+19 +2 = 235.6m2
For overlaps we'll add 10%, 23.56m2.
Making our total requirement 259.16m2.
Each roll of Fire Shield is 139m2, therefore: 259.16139= 1.86 rolls are needed.
In this example 2 rolls would be ordered.
We suggest you install the Fire Shield on your home during the winter months to test your capabilities and identify any spots you may have missed. This will also allow you to get familiar with the process which will aid you when it's done under more stressful conditions.
Anchoring Fire Shields
Anchoring the fire shields is very important. No two structures will wrap the same. There is no one perfect way. Covering all combustible materials is the goal.
You can place a roll of fire shield material on standards or saw horses with a pole through the center to allow you to spool off a certain length and cut it. Fire Shields can be safely cut to lengths and anchored to the walls or roofs. They will not tear and will be easier to handle and deploy in smaller lengths.
In most cases we recommend using staples to hold the material firmly in place. You should overlap all seams at least 6 to 7 cm so that if a seam comes loose in the wind embers can’t get lodged inside next to your home.
It is highly recommended that you use chicken wire and attach the chicken wire firmly to your home and then stretch it tightly covering seams. Chicken wire is very useful for wrapping eaves, stairs, and odd shapes structures. It is inexpensive, bendable, and good to have lots around. Other items are tie wire and sandbags. NOTE: Winds will blow hard against your wrapped structure with gusts in excess of 60 kph.
Most bushfires are accompanied by high winds. The best time to deploy your fire resistant shields to avoid the wind is at sunrise as the wind generally picks up later in the day. Have your sandbags filled, helpers ready, and start as early as possible. Generally it takes between 1.5 -3 hours to fully cover a home. Each home is different and this can vary.
On the roof
Use extreme caution when using ladders and walking on your roof. Make sure your roof is strong enough for people to walk on safely. Use suitable protection equipment and follow your local regulations regarding working at heights. Wear sunglasses if deploying your fire shields on sunny days. They reflect 100% of the light.
CAUTION: Fire shields are slippery when dry. Be extremely careful when walking on them with wet shoes.
Cover any sharp edges that might tear the material with duct tape or rags. Be careful that the shields do not catch on vent pipes or other obstacles.
If you are using water under the shields, place your hose on each side of the roof peak with the sprinkler holes facing up. Do not turn on the water until you are done. FIRE SHIELDS ARE EXTREMELY SLIPPERY WHEN WET!
If you intend to wet your roof wait until after you have deployed your fire shields. They are extremely slippery when wet. We would recommend that if a hose is placed under the shields to turn it on when the fire is close or you are told to evacuate.
Consider your water supply and limitations when adding a hose underneath the Fire Shield.
Wrapping roofs and eaves
Anchor the top part of the shields with sandbags or weights before you allow the bottom half to hang over the eave. Allow enough material to tuck under the eave and go down the wall at least 60cm. Allow a path for the water to flow against the wall under the shields for maximum protection.
To wrap your walls simply start at one edge and tack the material to the wall. Work around the house and try to extend past the foundation by 60cm for anchoring room.
Optional: To wrap your walls – facing the front of your home measure the distance from the left side to the right side. For example 18 m. Cut a piece of fire shield at 18 m and anchor to the bottom of the wall. Cut another piece the same size and place it above the first layer allowing for overlap and anchor. Continue around the structure until all combustible materials are covered.
When finished your home should be secure and properly sealed.
Be extremely careful with your fire shields near power lines and power supplies running into your home via the roof. DO NOT TOUCH ANY POWER LINES WITH YOUR HANDS OR THE FIRE SHIELDS. Also do not allow the wind to blow the material into a power line. Tie weights or sandbags to the end of the material that will be nearest the power lines prior to positioning the shields.