Is it time to bunker down?

RESIDENTS of Warrandyte and the surrounding suburbs know only too well the danger that the warmer months of the year start to bring. The hot, breezy days have long been threatening the community, as Warrandyte remains one of Australia’s most dangerous bushfire locations.

Fortunately there is an option, which, in combination with a solid fireplan, should give some relief to the nerves of some this summer.

Wildfire Safety Bunkers, managed and owned by Anthony Tratt, are producing the first private use bushfire shelters to have been fully accredited by CFA Australia.

Commencing his work on the project in October 2007, Anthony took on a lead role in the installation and testing of the units, and saw the shelters receive their official accreditation in 2010.

“We did two years with the Victorian Building Commission and the CFA, we did an enormous amount of testing, and we’ve been proved to be fit for purpose in a bushfire attack level flame zone,” Anthony states.

The bunkers come in a various range of designs, varying from smaller family units to larger options with the capacity to facilitate dozens, as Anthony explains.

“We’ve got a six person unit for domestic use, a 12 person unit that can also be multiplied, and we’ve even got a big 250 person community shelter. However, before a community shelter is built, there are a lot of factors such as access and location of the shelter that need to be addressed.”

Despite having their shelters proven to be fire proof, Wildfire Safety Bunkers urges residents in fire danger areas that the bunkers are a last resort defense mechanism. Complementing this, the company emphatically reminds citizens as to the importance of the community’s fireplan.

“Obviously in Warrandyte they have one heck of a fireplan, and we absolutely promote evacuation. Evacuation is the number one priority for people living in a bushfire area. Our shelters come into the equation when people do happen to get trapped or unaware. Then they have a place of refuge for that situation,” says Anthony.

Many people in the Warrandyte area have already pulled the trigger on purchasing and installing a private bunker in preparation for the sweltering days ahead. Due to the influx of customers in the region, Wildfire Safety Bunkers recently sponsored the fireball, providing valuable support to the community.

“We’ve met a lot of people in the Warrandyte area through installation, we have a lot of units in the area and a fair few people are starting to know about us so we want keep that going and provide an option,” says Anthony.

Full installation of a bunker, including excavation and placement, can be wrapped up in as little as six hours, so for those on the fence about installation, it certainly isn’t too late. Truly now, with the development of these shelters, there is somewhere to go when there’s nowhere to go.

(page 6, Warrandyte Diary, November 2014)


Second river crossing

WARRANDYTE could have a second Yarra River crossing before the end of the year with VicRoads to review the town’s ability to cope in a worst-case scenario bushfire emergency.

Member for Warrandyte Ryan Smith last week announced VicRoads would work with Emergency Management Victoria to create a traffic management model as party of a multi-agency review – including Victoria Police, the CFA, Melbourne Water and local councils – with a particular focus on Warrandyte Bridge with considerations to widen it, as well as looking at improving water accessibility for fire brigades.

In February a fire destroyed three Warrandyte homes giving locals a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the environment we live in. The bridge has always been a concern given it is the only route for locals who live north of the Yarra requiring a southern evacuation.

“Two Disaster Plan (Displan) boxes will be installed at both sides of Warrandyte Bridge, containing equipment needed to assist with traffic management during emergencies,” Mr Smith said.

“Our No.1 concern during an emergency is the safe evacuation of people, and these simple solutions will greatly assist Victoria Police and other emergency response teams manage an evacuation.

“The boxes will contain two-sided multi message signs and 40 ‘witches hats’ which could be used to provide drivers with advance notice to prepare for changed traffic conditions.

“The peak danger period for bushfires in the Warrandyte area is nearly upon us, so these measures are not only welcome but also a timely reminder to people in the Warrandyte area to be prepared.

In addition to the Displan boxes, new folding traffic management signs on both sides of Warrandyte Bridge will be installed and road diversion plans for the broader region were being reviewed and finalised.

“I’ve been speaking with VicRoads staff and the aim is to have all of these measures finalised and implemented by the end of the year.”

Residents are reminded of the importance of having a solid fire plan throughout summer. Visit for news, suggestions and more information on how you can be better prepared.