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How do bushfire shutters work

How Do Bushfire Shutters Work?

If you live in an area prone to bushfires and have often felt that the safety of your home and family are at the mercy of Mother Nature, investing in bushfire shutters could bring you valuable peace of mind. 

But just what are bushfire shutters and how do they work to protect you during a bushfire event? 

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at bushfire shutters, how they function, what to look for, other benefits they offer and more. Ensuring you can make the most informed choice for your home. 

Let’s dive right in. 

Are Bushfire Shutters Different From Standard Shutters? 

Yes, while bushfire shutters share a similar design with standard roller shutters and offer some shared benefits and features, they also have specific modifications that allow them to uphold their integrity under fire conditions. 

However, this benefit is in addition to many of those offered by standard shutters including:

  • Advanced security
  • Privacy
  • Increased energy efficiency 
  • Protection against extreme weather events 
  • Better light control
  • Improved noise control and more. 

How Do Bushfire Shutters Work?

Made of exceptionally tough, durable and non-combustible materials, bushfire shutters work to protect your home in numerous ways. 

In the event of a bushfire, these shutters close tightly, forming a physical barrier that insulates and protects against embers, radiant heat and flames. 

So what does this mean in practice? As they can reduce heat by up to 90%, they decrease the likelihood of your home’s windows shattering, ensuring embers and flames cannot enter. 

While the exterior of your home may still be susceptible to damage depending on the proximity of the fire, bushfire shutters greatly decrease the risks of damage to your property’s interior. 

Thereby helping you to better protect your loved ones and possessions. 

What Are Bushfires Shutters Made From? 

Bushfire shutters are typically made from either rolled or extruded aluminium and may be insulated or non-insulated depending on the BAL rating applied. 

These materials are used as they are non-combustible (will not burn easily) and can expand and contract without losing their integrity during extremes of temperature.  

BAL Ratings & Bushfire Shutters

When buying bushfire shutters, it is essential to determine their bushfire attack level (BAL) rating and whether this rating has been certified and is compliant with Australian Standards. 

BAL ratings are a means for measuring a building’s potential exposure to bushfire activity and how severe the associated risks are. 

There are six potential bushfire attack levels (BAL) that are used to rate the risk of fire danger to a building based on its location. 

These levels range from low-risk (LOW) to very high-risk (FZ or Flame Zone), they are indicated as follows:  

  • BAL-12.5  
  • BAL 19   
  • BAL 29  
  • BAL 40  
  • BAL FZ (Flame Zone)

Each rating is assumed to carry the same risks as the previous rating, with additional risks being applied incrementally. 

BAL ratings are not exclusive to bushfire shutters, dictating more broadly the construction methods and materials that should be used in bushfire-prone areas. 

The Importance Of Compliance 

To be sold as bushfire shutters, these specialised shutters must be compliant with several directives and manufacturers are legally obligated to submit their products to testing by a notified body. 

This ensures they can perform as advertised and that customers can invest in this protective measure with confidence. 

Australian standards for compliance dictate that bushfire shutters:

  • Be made from non-combustible material 
  • Be fixed securely to the building and be non-removable
  • When in the closed position, have no gap greater than 3 mm between the shutter and the wall, the sill or the head
  • Be readily manually operable from either inside or outside

What Happens If There Is A Power Outage? 

As the majority of shutters installed today are motorised, how they will operate during a power outage is a valid concern. 

As the above section on compliance indicates, bushfire shutters must be able to be operated manually in addition to any motorised functionality. This ensures they can be opened or closed safely regardless of whether there is power. 

Are Bushfire Shutters Safe?

Yes, it is worth noting that the manual operation of bushfire shutters also acts as an important safety feature for anyone residing in the home who may need to make an emergency escape during a bushfire event. 

However, while bushfire shutters are an effective measure for reducing the risk of damage to property during a bushfire, they are not a failsafe. 

Directives provided by local authorities regarding whether to shelter in place or evacuate should always be followed, regardless of whether you have bushfire shutters installed. 

Choosing The Right Bushfire Shutters For Your Home

Whether your home is best suited to standard shutters or bushfire shutters and if the latter, which BAL rating to choose can be a challenge. 

In Victoria, a minimum of BAL 12.5 is required for all new homes that are built in bushfire-prone areas. At Titan Shutters, all of our roller shutters are rated BAL 29 or above, making them extremely safe.

This means that even with a standard shutter, your level of protection during a bushfire event is vastly improved. Ultimately, however, a professional assessment of your home and its location in relation to known high-risk bushfire areas is recommended. 

This will help to ensure that the most appropriate BAL-rated shutters are selected for your home. For instance, BAL 29 is usually more than sufficient for a suburban home in a metro location. 

Conversely, if you live in a regional area close to heavily vegetated areas of bush or where bushfires have occurred previously, BAL 40 may be better suited. 

Titan Shutters, The Bushfire Shutter Experts

With decades of experience and a proven commitment to adhering to all Australian standards for BAL compliance, we’re the team you can trust to manufacture and install your bushfire shutters. 

Serving Melbourne and wider Victoria, we understand the challenges of living in a volatile climate where bushfires are often a fact of life. We work closely with all our clients to find the most suitable shutter solution for their needs and one that delivers maximum benefits. 

To learn more or to book an obligation-free quote, call Titan Shutters today at 1300 020 001.

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