Is it time to bunker down?

by Michael Di Petta
22nd November 2014

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)