Are Roller Shutters a Fire Hazard?
With bush fires being a real concern for families in South Australia, Adelaide customers want to know if roller shutters are a fire hazard. Without mincing words, possibly! But not when it comes to bush fires. If you need some fire safety tips in South Australia, follow this link
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If the fire is outside the home, such as in a bush fire, roller shutters are going to help keep your home safe. The shutters act as a shield to keep out embers. The aluminium used in most roller shutters comply with fire standards and are an extra barrier to increase the chances of your home surviving a bush fire. Does this mean that I recommend staying at home in a bush fire.... definately not! I suggest that you get out of the area and head to a safe location as soon as possible (and maybe check on your insurance policy if its not too late). Does it mean that I am saying roller shutters WILL save your home, definately not! All I am saying is that roller shutters act as a barrier against embers.
So why am I suggesting that they are a fire hazard? If a fire starts IN THE HOME and you have roller shutters down, how will you get out? The answer will depend on the method of operation (for different operations check out: Top 3 Roller Shutter Questions.
If you have 240 volt hard wired shutters and the fire has cut the power to the home, you may be trapped. Particularly if all the windows and doors are shuttered. If only some of the windows and doors have roller shutters, you may still be able to get out providing that the fire has not blocked the other fire exists.
For manually operated shutters you have a better chance of finding an escape route, however the time it takes the shutter to open will seem so much longer than usually. You will need to stay calm.
Battery operated or 12 volt shutters may be operating - as long as the battery is charged.
If you have a remote control operated shutter, without additional wall operation, let's hope you have the remote close by.
Now I do not want to be all doom and gloom about the potential of fire hazards AND I absolutely am not saying do not get roller shutters in Adelaide. I just want to be honest and open about the potential risks. There are a bunch of positive reasons why you would want to get roller shutters on your windows and doors including noise reduction, insulation properties, light control and security. BUT you will want to purchase shutters with the knowledge that you MAY need to get out in a hurry.
Make sure you use an installer that will discuss the various options for a potential fire emergency - and yes there are options. This way you can purchase shutters and modify your families fire evacuation plan to suit.
Some manufacturers offer sensors which automatically open shutters when a smoke alarm is activated. You may choose to install manual overrides. You may choose a combination of different operations depending on your families fire escape plan.
Whatever you decide to do make sure that the company you choose to install roller shutters is honest about the potential risks and has your families best interests at heart. The risk may be low BUT it is still a risk.