Kath Jesse recalls the time during Australia's bushfire epidemic on December 2002 when a 1-in-100 year blaze marched up the gentle sloping hills behind their rural Glenorie acreage (near Sydney) and seemingly randomly wiped out some houses while leaving others untouched."We had done everything right," said Ms Jesse. "We had clear paddocks between us and the bush. We had a swimming pool set up with fire pump. Yet the blaze just leaped straight over the pool and fringing palms and wiped out the house. The fire pump we set up between us and the bush wasn't even touched - when we came back it was sitting there ready to go, just as we left it. The fire just jumped the back yard."
Now, two years after they lost their house in the fire just before Christmas on December 4, 2002, Ms Jesse and her family are living in the new house they built on the same spot - but with an important difference. This time they have installed Fire-Pro EWSS protection system that automatically drenches danger areas of house exteriors when life and property are under threat.
Activated by low-voltage heat detectors as temperatures rise to danger levels, the CalAir Pipe Systems says its Fire-Pro EWSS (External Water Spray System) is Australia's first professionally designed and manufactured bushfire protection system for new and existing houses
Designed for unobtrusive built-in installation for protection without ugliness, all of the system's major components are located within the roof space. Low-profile Roof Mist (RMI) and Eave Drencher (EDI) spray nozzles - especially designed for weathertight installation - merge with eaves and rooflines to provide blanket coverage of external areas posing greatest risk. The RM1 nozzles protect against flying embers on roofs and gutters while ED1 nozzles protect windows and doors.
"We know the last fire was a freak thing, but we're not taking any unnecessary chances. The last fire just seemed to pick up in minutes and there was no predicting what it would destroy. One house opposite us stayed and the next one went. It just picked at random."
Kath Jesse says where fire strikes is just a matter of chance. "The lady down the road has been here since 1946. There have been lots of fires, but never anything like this. It can happen just about anywhere, anytime."
"But now the local council is getting very active in promoting fire prevention - with inner and outer protection zones and construction requirements - and we are taking our own precautions with the extra protection of the CalAir system.
"It is a professional alternative to last-resort measures - Such as people standing on roofs with garden hoses as fires approach - I mean, people are putting their lives on the line because they mightn't have given protection enough though until the fire is on their doorstep." says John McNab from Calair.
Drawing water from either swimming pools or dedicated tanks, the system comes complete with pipe and pipe fittings, hose assemblies, spray nozzles, valves, heat detectors and with pumping equipment from industry leader Davey Pumps.
CalAir spray nozzle designs provide optimum droplet size at minimum flow and pressure to avoid early depletion of water supplies. The system automatically shuts down when temperatures drop below danger level.
"Compared with the loss, devastation and personal risk of current methods of fire protection - which rely on householders and fire personnel exposing themselves to extreme danger - this is a very cost-effective investment. It is also designed to be easy to install during building or to retro-fit," said Mr McNab.