Bushfire-resistant underground bunkers built by a Somerville company could be blaze lifesavers

08 September 2017

published by http://www.heraldsun.com.au

Australia - FIRE authorities say the best possible protection from a bushfire is to not be near one.

In the case of a blaze coming close, the official policy is to leave, and leave early, but sometimes that may not be possible.

In that instance, a bushfire-resistant underground bunker could literally be a lifesaver.

Since setting up in Somerville in 2008, Wildfire Safety Bunkers has supplied hundreds of its special shelters to properties across the country.

There are more than a dozen already in place across the Peninsula, and just last week eight more went north to the Cairns area.

Owner Anthony Tratt said news reports of people dying because they couldn’t evacuate in time spurred him on to set up the company.

“It is a tool people can use to help save lives,” he said.

The bunkers — which cost $15,000 for a six-person and $32,000 for a 12-person — have building authority approval. They can protect people and pets for an hour — enough time for a firefront to cross.

Mr Tratt said he expected there would be a scorching summer with, in his opinion, a high-risk fire season ahead.

Interestingly, some owners are using the bunkers to store irreplaceable possessions such as photographs and heirlooms.

“Of course it is traumatic to come back to a property that has been destroyed, but at least it is better if they come back and still have their possessions, it is better than nothing,” he said.

To find out more about the bunkers,