Saturday, August 30, 2014
   
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FireSmart Building Materials

 Around the HouseFireSmart design standards recommended for the construction or retrofit of interface buildings.

Use only fire retardant roof covering materials rated at Class A, B, or C in interface areas. The Class A rating denotes lower combustibility; the Class C rating denotes higher combustibility.

The roof is most important in determining whether or not a fire will consume the building.

Roofing materials and cleanliness:
  • Is your roof covered with metal, tile, asphalt, ULC-rated treated shakes or non- combustible material.
  • Roof is clear of overhanging vegetation.
  • Combustible materials removed from roof (i.e. pine needles, leaves etc.).
  • Ensure the gutters are free of combustible material.
  • Does you chimney or stove pipe have an approved spark arrestor (12 gauge welded or woven wire mesh screen with mesh opening 12 millimeters or less) and above roof line.
  • Does your chimney outlet have at least 3 meters’ clearance from all vegetation and obstructions? 

Structural Options

Siding:
With the exception of the roof, siding material is the structural component most vulnerable to fire. Firebrands can easily become fires if lodged in and against the structural exteriors.

  • Is your siding material stucco, metal, brick, cement shingles, concrete blocks, poured concrete or rock?

Eaves, Vents, and Openings:
While vents perform the important function of removing trapped moisture from attics, soffits and crawlspaces, they are ready-made openings that can allow heat and embers to enter a building and ignite it.

  • All eaves, attic and under floor openings should be closed.
  • Open vents should be screened with 3 millimeter wire mesh.
  • Provide interior access to attics and crawlspaces.

Balcony, Decks or Porch:
Stilt construction allows fire to get under overhangs and ignite the building. The fire danger further increases if vegetation, debris or stored combustibles accumulate under the overhang.

  • Ensure your balconies and decks are closed in.
  • Ensure you decking is flame-resistant materials.
  • Ensure you have access under your deck so to clean out any combustible material.

Windows and Door Glazing: 
Glass shattered by fire creates an opening in a building exterior that allows firebrands to enter the building so that it burns from the inside. Large windows are more venerable to fracture or collapse then smaller windows or multi-pane windows.

  • Clear concentrations of fuels within 10 metres of windows and glass doors.
  • Thermal pane or tempered glass windows provide increased protection.
  • Solid shutters will provide increased fire protection. (Should be made of non-flammable material, although 12 millimetre exterior-grade plywood can be used).

Locations of Nearby Combustibles:
Firewood, building material (and other combustible debris piles) neighboring buildings and wooden storage shacks are all serious fire dangers.

  • Ensure all piles of firewood and other combustibles are more than 10 metres away from buildings.

Suppression Equipment on Site:
The following items are fire suppression equipment that should be in an accessible location on your property:

  • Hand Tools (shovel, Pulaski, and rake).
  • Enough garden hose to reach roof top.
  • If your house does not have a pressurized water system, keep a water-filled 205-litre fire safety barrel close to building with a 10 litre pail attached.
  • Keep a rooftop access ladder and if possible a rooftop sprinkler system.

Download a Fact Sheet here