With the fires on 7th February 2009 now called the ‘Black Saturday Fires’ many people in high-risk areas are considering installing or have installed so-called fire bunkers.
In theory these bunkers are a good idea – in real life perhaps not so good.
The 7th of February saw 7 people die in bunkers – the causes not released to the public. In saying that there were many people that used bunkers and did survive.
There is documented evidence that a home-made bunker designed to save, almost killed one resident. Who upon entering the bunker found that once the door was closed, the bunker filled with smoke, whilst the oxygen was sucked out.
The placement, site location, whether under roof eaves, the location of trees and other large objects may cause problems when trying to exit the bunker AFTER the fire front has passed
The possibility of air being sucked out of the bunker is another issue – rarely touched upon – but just as important. A human being is unable to survive without air.
There is (was) a bunker north-east of Melbourne that when inspected after the fire – the occupant would not have been able to survive. The temperature inside the bunker melted everything. Thankfully the expected occupant left the area prior to the fires approach and survived defending his property.
I am neither condoning nor supporting the use of bunkers – but if YOU MUST build a bunker or pay someone to do it – ensure that some basic guidelines are followed, as there are NO government/council guidelines/laws established to date.
- The bunker entrance/exit is far enough away from building structures and trees that the entry/exit cannot be blocked by falling debris.
- Ensure that you have ample FRESH water to prevent dehydration.
- Ensure that the entry/exit allows for easy access to determine if safe to exit.
- Ensure that the bunker is big enough to accommodate the number of people you desire.
- Try and stop all external air flow from the bunker and stop all smoke-laden air from entering the bunker.
- Ensure you have lighting that doesn’t consume oxygen (i.e. no candles).
As stated previously in theory bunkers are a good idea. Personally I don’t support them, simply because I have a dread of dying where I may not be found for days/weeks after a fatal event.
People and families did survive in bunkers – I am not denying that.
I suppose I would rather die fighting, not fleeing or huddled in an underground cell waiting for death.
Please take care and remember a life cannot be replaced, buildings and cars can be.