We can’t control the weather or wind direction, and climate change is taking its toll. With some of the worst bushfires affecting towns, rural communities and so much more around the world, let’s take a look at ways to build or protect your Tiny Home.
- Avoid building on a hilltop or side of a mountain as fire flames spread fastest moving upwards.
- When building on a permanent plot, use a fire-resistant concrete foundation or slabs to minimize underfloor spaces. Otherwise enclose spaces beneath timber floorboards.
- Design your tiny home allowing for an easy and fast route to directly evacuate if necessary, and plan where to put a prepared survival kit to take with you. It could even be part of your outside design accessed by a lift up storage unit like on a bus.
- Think about sloping roofs either in one direction or a pyramid shape to help dried leaves, burning embers and other debris fall away.
- Minimize guttering sticking out to catch leaves and other debris, let it all fall straight off the roof.
- Use toughened glass, either tempered or double glazing for windows where possible.
- If using timber to construct your tiny home, treat all timbers throughout with a fire retardant product. Timber treated with a fire-retardant coating can resist fire for longer than ordinary timber and does not ignite easily. This applies to outdoor decks as well.
- There are some timbers such as Blackbutt, Red Ironbark, River Redgum, Spotted Gum and Turpentine that don’t need a fire retardant applied, but make double sure and do your research before using them.
- Plan your garden and landscaping surrounding your tiny home. Some Acacia trees are quite fire resistant, but again do your research on the best plants to use in repelling fire.
- Keep bush scrub and trees twenty metres from your tiny home.
- Natural regularly mown or artificial lawns surrounding the tiny home.
- External sprinkler systems should have metal pipes and sturdy spouts.
- Thinking laterally, you could build a moat around your tiny home castle like people did centuries ago.
- Prepare an evacuation plan and have an emergency kit with dry clothing, blankets, long life food stuffs, securely bottled water, and first aid placed somewhere near the front door ready to go. Regularly check supplies to ensure everything is up to date and not past its best.
- Even before an intense fire can reach a window pane, the overwhelming heat can cause the glass to break. Not only is using double glazed windows energy efficient, but they also protect the home for longer against the ravages of fire. Tempered glass is heat treated making it four times stronger than regular glass and is also energy efficient.
- Maintenance checks throughout your tiny home to ensure no gas or other leaks, your roof is secure and not missing any tiles or other materials. Clean all existing gutters and replace with metal where possible.
- Check any insurance plan you have and make sure it includes cover for your tiny home should a bushfire occur where applicable.
- Adding a sloped roof to an existing flat structure. This could be a great idea to add space to your interior while ensuring your tiny home is working towards a more fire-prone existence.
- Keep emergency contact information stored in your phone ready to use instead of searching for or typing a number.
- If your tiny home is mobile, you can drive to a safer location but ignore driving higher up the landscape as fires thrive and move faster uphill.
- Plan your trips well ahead. Research weather forecasts and patterns, opt for cooler climates and flatter landscapes where possible, and check all alternative routes open to you should you need to flee a bush fire.
I’m sure there are other things you can think of to add here, but this list is a great start to ensuring not only your future safety, but that of your tiny home.