Bushfires continue to devastate properties across the country, so it’s the perfect time to explore the issue of sheds and fire safety.
A steel structure is a great way to protect your assets from fire danger, including the fire itself and also damage from ash, smoke and heat.
How to build a fire-safe shed
When planning your new shed build, speak with your relevant authority (usually local council) about what requirements you must meet for fire safety.
By complying with this advice, your shed will be as safe as it can be from the threat of bushfires.
Some things to consider will be:
- Location: How close is your shed to boundary fencing and other structures?
- Vegetation: Will your shed be built close to trees?
- Access: Can large fire trucks navigate your driveway?
- Materials: A steel shed will be more protected from fire than wooden ones. If you have a wooden frame, the addition of a steel roof and walls will assist in protection also. All materials, including insulation, should be checked for fire safety rating before construction of your structure begins.
- Requirements are different from state to state and council to council, so please contact your local authority for the most up-to-date information.
How to maintain a fire-safe shed
It’s not only important to build your shed right – shed owners are encouraged to give them the best chance of surviving a fire emergency by maintaining the shed and the immediate area around it to optimise safety.
- Protect your asset by filling in and covering all gaps where fire could enter or embers become wedged and burn. Areas to consider are eaves, air vent and roof cavities.
- Install metal fly screens on your shed’s windows and vents to keep sparks and embers out.
- Gutter guards are a great way to prevent the build up of leaves and debris.
- Keep grass mown low around your shed and clean up fallen branches and other items which could fuel a fire.
- Keep firewood away from sheds and buildings.
When there’s a fire
When there is a bushfire in your area, it’s important that you stay vigilant and take heed of all emergency warnings.
If it is safe to do so, there are a few things that can help prevent fire burning your shed or steel structure:
- Ember attacks are the biggest threat and in recent fires have been impacting properties up to 30km in front of the fireline in some instances. If there is a bushfire nearby, regularly check your shed and other assets for signs of ember attack to remove the problem before it takes off.
- Clean the immediate area of combustible items – including wooden garden furniture and other things that can catch light.
- Petrol and gas cylinders are particularly dangerous in fire emergencies and should not be stored in sheds at this time.
Preparation is the key to success when it comes to fire damage mitigation. Enact your fire plan and keep yourself, your family and animals safe.