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Old Oct 28th 2017, 2:00 pm   #1
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Default Fire protection in the future?

So we’re now more than 4 months since the wildfires started & the country is still burning & lives, homes & livelihoods are still being lost & having been hit by the firestorm on day one of the outbreak I’ve finally got my house more or less back to normal & it’s recently occurred to me to start looking into what I can do to protect my home in event of a repeat performance.


I’m obviously still working on the firebreak issue but also want to install further protection for the house itself.


My first thought was either a roof sprinkler system similar to this


Or a roof drencher system like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr1SrmGkTKYf


But either needs a really plentiful & reliable water source & we’re only on mains water and in the recent fire, that supply went off shortly before the fire hit so as good as they look, they’re only going to be worth installing if you have a swimming pool, well or river etc nearby so those options are effectively closed to me.


We’ve got ordinary fire extinguishers in the house & 3 hoses outside of it but they rely on someone being in the house to operate them.

Then a few days ago I ran into a friend who mentioned he deals with a company that makes the Mabo automatic fire extinguishers & quite honestly, I’d never heard of them so went home & Googled them. There’s lots of info on the net but here’s just one vid picked at random:

Prices are fairly reasonable at €99 per unit including postage in Portugal & each unit covers 16 m2 so my questions are is there anyone else out there who has given this issue any thought? & do you think these units are a good option?

What I like about them is they’ll work even after we’ve evacuated the house.

I’ve got no commercial link to the product BTW & am looking for advice & opinion.
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Old Oct 28th 2017, 3:26 pm   #2
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Default Re: Fire protection in the future?

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... do you think these units are a good option?

What I like about them is they’ll work even after we’ve evacuated the house.
...
My initial reaction is that they are designed to extinguish, one time only, a fire that has its source inside the space concerned (a random electric fire, for example).

The fires that you're concerned with approach from the outside and will continue to do so whether or not the fire is extinguished inside. For how long would this system prevent re-ignition or protect the space's contents from the heat?

Nonetheless, your Jeep might appreciate the gesture. It might not be so lucky a second time.
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Old Oct 28th 2017, 3:37 pm   #3
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My initial reaction is that they are designed to extinguish, one time only, a fire that has its source inside the space concerned (a random electric fire, for example).

The fires that you're concerned with approach from the outside and will continue to do so whether or not the fire is extinguished inside. For how long would this system prevent re-ignition or protect the space's contents from the heat?

Nonetheless, your Jeep might appreciate the gesture. It might not be so lucky a second time.
They are single use only but I think I'm considerably more fire aware than I was before the firestorm & my intention is to take as many precautions as possible against any & all kinds of fire but certainly no doubt a good idea in the garage especially.

Gotta say I also like the idea of being able to buy them locally as well.
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Old Oct 28th 2017, 7:46 pm   #4
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Default Re: Fire protection in the future?

nice gizmo bot it won't save you from a firestorm outside the house.

Consider fire resistant shutters; with masonry walls and ceramic tile roof, Portuguese houses are halfway there already.
Then the boring old firebreak, if you can [I assume if you could you would]
So what's left is a serious water curtain system. You could do it, it would just cost serious bucks.
You'd need a large water reservoir under ground or [as you said] a swimming pool full, and your own pump with a power supply.
say 5 tons per hour and a 1hp pump, for 4 hours; 2 or 3 200Ah batteries would do it.
You'd need to change out the batteries once every 5-10 years [periodic testing would be required] other material would be one time expenses. the batteries would be around 800 euros. You could probably do the rest for 5 or 10,000 more.
If you keep the tank full you can use a plastic one.
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Old Oct 28th 2017, 10:54 pm   #5
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nice gizmo bot it won't save you from a firestorm outside the house.

Consider fire resistant shutters; with masonry walls and ceramic tile roof, Portuguese houses are halfway there already.
Then the boring old firebreak, if you can [I assume if you could you would]
So what's left is a serious water curtain system. You could do it, it would just cost serious bucks.
You'd need a large water reservoir under ground or [as you said] a swimming pool full, and your own pump with a power supply.
say 5 tons per hour and a 1hp pump, for 4 hours; 2 or 3 200Ah batteries would do it.
You'd need to change out the batteries once every 5-10 years [periodic testing would be required] other material would be one time expenses. the batteries would be around 800 euros. You could probably do the rest for 5 or 10,000 more.
If you keep the tank full you can use a plastic one.
A plastic tank full of rain water if your roof can support the weight.
There are simple measures you can take.
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Old Oct 29th 2017, 4:53 am   #6
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nice gizmo bot it won't save you from a firestorm outside the house.
......

Consider fire resistant shutters; with masonry walls and ceramic tile roof, Portuguese houses are halfway there already.
Then the boring old firebreak, if you can [I assume if you could you would]
So what's left is a serious water curtain system. You could do it, it would just cost serious bucks.
Agree - To my 1Volt brain it'll be the temperature that does the damage, and in a firestorm situation the water that's sprayed on the roof, will more or less immediately evaporate; - you'd just be delaying matters by a few seconds. I think it's just a question of the usual precautions and a lot of .
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Old Oct 29th 2017, 8:58 am   #7
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Default Re: Fire protection in the future?

We've already got things like fire resistant shutters, masonry walls and ceramic roof tiles etc & I'm working on the slow process of forcing the neighbouring landowners to honour the firebreak laws but a pool or water tank of sufficient size to be of any use is unfortunately out of the question on my property.

I've now ordered some of the Mabo auto extinguishers that I'll put in high risk areas such as garages, workshops & near gas boilers & then keep an open mind on other options....... And I have to say I reckon the low price of them is well worth the extra piece of mind they bring.
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Old Oct 29th 2017, 11:42 am   #8
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Default Re: Fire protection in the future?

Would you be able to build an above ground 'cisterna' water tank, concrete build with roof water collected via guttering? All of the houses around us have them, usually as their only source of water. Ours holds about seventy thousand litres and as it's attached to the back of the house (probably not the best idea re damp!) its pump (about 100€) is powered by our mains electric. However, it could also easily be powered by a small, petrol generator, as I suppose in a fire one can't rely on electric. It could also be powered by a petrol or diesel pump.

Another idea - if you have a suitable outbuilding, garage etc. could you store water in 1000 litre IBCs? Again, used widely around us, costing I think about 50€ each. They could be stacked and linked, and water pumped for a sprinkler system using the same ideas as above.
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Old Oct 29th 2017, 12:31 pm   #9
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Would you be able to build an above ground 'cisterna' water tank, concrete build with roof water collected via guttering? All of the houses around us have them, usually as their only source of water. Ours holds about seventy thousand litres and as it's attached to the back of the house (probably not the best idea re damp!) its pump (about 100€) is powered by our mains electric. However, it could also easily be powered by a small, petrol generator, as I suppose in a fire one can't rely on electric. It could also be powered by a petrol or diesel pump.

Another idea - if you have a suitable outbuilding, garage etc. could you store water in 1000 litre IBCs? Again, used widely around us, costing I think about 50€ each. They could be stacked and linked, and water pumped for a sprinkler system using the same ideas as above.
There Are now good solar pumps with a battery back up on the market.
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Old Oct 29th 2017, 1:22 pm   #10
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.... Another idea - if you have a suitable outbuilding, garage etc. could you store water in 1000 litre IBCs? Again, used widely around us, costing I think about 50€ each. They could be stacked and linked, and water pumped for a sprinkler system using the same ideas as above.
Be sure that your foundation will support the stacked weight - every 1000 litres weighs one tonne, and from only a space perspective you could easily stack them two high and have a 2x4 matrix on the floor of a garage. But that would mean 16 tonnes, which is massively more than the floor/ foundation was designed to hold.
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Old Oct 29th 2017, 2:21 pm   #11
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Default Re: Fire protection in the future?

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Originally Posted by Mac and Mabel View Post
Would you be able to build an above ground 'cisterna' water tank, concrete build with roof water collected via guttering? All of the houses around us have them, usually as their only source of water. Ours holds about seventy thousand litres and as it's attached to the back of the house (probably not the best idea re damp!) its pump (about 100€) is powered by our mains electric. However, it could also easily be powered by a small, petrol generator, as I suppose in a fire one can't rely on electric. It could also be powered by a petrol or diesel pump.

Another idea - if you have a suitable outbuilding, garage etc. could you store water in 1000 litre IBCs? Again, used widely around us, costing I think about 50€ each. They could be stacked and linked, and water pumped for a sprinkler system using the same ideas as above.
Unfortunately not....... firstly because I don't really have a suitable area & secondly what area I do have is terraced & the land isn't particularly stable so I'd expect the weight of water plus concrete etc to be an issue.

I don't think a sprinkler system would have done anything on this last fire so I'd have to go for the drencher option which would require a pretty large water storage capacity.

P'raps I need to move to the a spot Alentejo where there isn't any trees!
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Old Oct 29th 2017, 6:48 pm   #12
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Default Re: Fire protection in the future?

Or move anywhere that has a house surrounded by your own land, which you can keep cleared.
We rejected many properties because of that problem; beautiful cool forests but when it burns, so does everything you own.
We bought a place that included a 50 meter perimeter all around.

I know most people don't have the luxury of that choice; and keeping it mowed is a big job, only suitable for those who can do the work, or who has the means to pay someone else to do it.
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Old Oct 30th 2017, 1:49 pm   #13
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Default Re: Fire protection in the future?

I had a system in Australia a little similar to this but linked into the rainwater collection butt, water was put on the roof via a petrol driven pump and most of it recycled back into the rainwater butts meaning you could get several hours of protection.
It is not designed to extinguish adjacent fires but can stop the main danger from flying embers particularly if they settle in gutters.
It was very simple, a header tank in the center of the house with a dry riser from the pump feeding to two sets of what looked like drilled scaffolding pole along the ridges
I didn't install it and it was probably home made by the guy that built the house but it worked and while we never had to use it I always felt a bit more secure because of it.
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