January 17, 2007 Wildfire has long been a difficult and dangerous problem to manage and weather extremes around the globe in recent years have seen have seen large-scale fire disasters effect the lives of people from California to Greece. In Australia, the world's driest continent, where bushfire is a familiar threat, a D.I.Y., from-the-ground-up protection system for homes has been developed incorporating dedicated sprinkler heads for different areas of the house linked to strategically placed, automatic heat sensors.
Calair Pipe Systems' Fire-Pro EWSS (External Water Spray System) is designed as a cost effective and unobtrusive bushfire protection system. Made from advanced polymer materials that contain non-toxic halogen free flame retardants to inhibit flame propagation, the piping is eight times lighter than traditional galvanized steel piping and will not corrode either internally or externally. The system comprises several components that work together to protect the home. The roof spray is designed for protection of the roof area, including the ridge and gutters, from flying embers. It provides coverage over a 5m (16.4ft) area and is supplied with a cup seal and hose adapter for easy installation. The eave drenchers designed to protect windows and doors from the high radiant heat of approaching bushfire and provide coverage over a 4m (13ft) area.
Low-profile Roof Mist (RMI) and Eave Drencher (EDI) spray nozzles - especially designed for weather tight installation – merge with eaves and rooflines to provide blanket coverage of external areas posing greatest risk. The RMI nozzles protect against flying embers on roofs and gutters while EDI nozzles protect windows and doors.
The system is also designed to stay out of sight - all of the major components are located within the roof space or within the roof itself.
Special heat sensors are located at strategic points to detect rising temperature. At 95°C the heat sensors send a signal to the solenoid valves to open and provide water to the window drenchers. Once activated by the low-voltage detectors, the system draws water from either swimming pools or dedicated tanks. Calair’a spray nozzle designs provide optimum droplet size at minimum flow and pressure to avoid early depletion of water supplies. The system automatically shuts down when temperatures drop below danger level.
Bill Griffin, a Professor of Earth Sciences, lives near bushland on NSW South Coast in Australia. He and his family established “asset protection zones” around the house by reducing the density of trees but they did not want to clear the forest environment. “We made sure that the house itself was designed to be relatively fire resistant and then we installed the Calair Fire-Pro system to provide an extra level of protection,” says Professor Griffin.
The system’s advanced polymer piping does not require specialist labor or welding and all of the system’s major components are located within the roof space or within the roof itself. Calair Pipe Systems Managing Director John McNab says the EWSS system is designed for safe and practical installation in rural and urban areas. The Fire- Pro EWSS is available nationally in Australia as a D.I.Y. system or installed by Calair. One of the major advantages of the Calair system is the safe installation that can be completed without having to walk on the roof. The system comes complete with pipe and pipe fittings, hose assemblies, spray nozzles, valves, heat detectors and pumping equipment.
Calair recommends a minimum of 25,000 litres to give effective protection for approx. 2.5hrs.