People like us. Visit us on Facebook.

Australian map made of steel Trying to compare rainwater tanks on the market and work out price differences??? Our Australian Aquaplate steel is produced to Australian potable water standards. Some imported steel does not meet standards. Our galvanised steel is Z600, specifically manufactured in Australia for rainwater tanks. Cheaper Z450 galvanised steel is not intended for rainwater tanks. Not all steel tanks are equal in quality.

Bush Fire Protection Tanks

rainwater bushfire tanks, very handy in bush fire fighting
Fibreglass tanks which were full of water 
        	when a fire front came through Kangarilla in 2008. Not as fire resistance as steel Fibreglass tanks which were full of water when a fire front came through Kangarilla in 2008.
steel tank undergoing a fire immersion test This photo shows a steel tank undergoing a fire immersion test conducted by the CSIRO and Bushfire CRC.
Poly Tanks in a Bush Fire have no fire resistance Poly tank which melted in a fire front on the Willunga Hills in 2008. Poly tanks are not fire resistant.

This page is designed to give advice on tank options for bushfire risk areas. There are links on this page for current South Australian Government regulations. We recommend customers seek clarification for current regulations specific for their local council area.

According to the SA Government Minister's Specifications SA 78 , tanks used for fighting bush fires and designated bushfire tanks must be made of non-combustible material. (Read more from the source)

Aquaplate steel and galvanised steel tanks are both non-combustible and therefore approved for use. It's best to use a fire resistant alternative where possible. Poly tanks are not approved for bushfire protection tanks as they are manufactured from combustible material and therefore lack the heat resistance needed.

The two links below are articles produced by Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre. Bushfire CRC joined with the CSIRO to examine the performance of rainwater tanks in a simulated bushfire.

Bushfire CRC Update: Tanks on Trial for Home Defence
sourced from: www.bushfirecrc.com

Bushfire CRC: Research and Investigation Into the Performance of Rain Water Tanks in Bushfires
sourced from: www.bushfirecrc.com

As demonstrated in the tests, steel tanks in either Aquaplate or galvanised steel are the best performers under all exposure conditions.

We are able to supply and install the CFS London coupling kit or the London threaded outlet, depending on what suits your requirements.

CFS London Thread, useful during bush firesCFS London Thread, useful during bush fires These two photos show the CFS London Thread. A tank fitted with this fitting could be connected to a domestic fire pump.
CFS London Coupling kit, useful during bushfiresCFS London Coupling kit, useful during bush fires These two photos show the CFS London Coupling kit. A tank fitted with this kit allows the CFS to hook up to this tank and use the water for fire fighting.
A rain water tank with CFS London Coupling kit, useful as bush fire tanks A tank with CFS London Coupling kit, ready for bushfire season.
Poly-lined steel tanks installed as designated fire fighting tanks, useful in bush firesPoly-lined steel tanks installed as designated fire fighting tanks, useful in bush fires. Poly-lined steel tanks installed as designated fire fighting tanks.

The following information has been sourced from the CFS webpage:

Water supply

Properties which rely on electric pumps to obtain their water supply from a bore, dam, swimming pool or overhead tanks under pressure face the danger of having the power cut-off during bushfires.

A supplementary water supply under pressure is essential, coupled to a diesel or petrol motor.

Fire water supplies serve three main functions:

  • For use by householders to control spot fires and hot spots in and around their properties.
  • For protecting the house from radiant heat and sparks using a garden and/or house sprinkler system.
  • To supply CFS volunteer fire brigades involved in fighting the main fire.
  • To operate a sprinkler system you will need an independent water supply with a 22,000 litre capacity.

Make sure that a water supply for firefighting is always kept in reserve. An overhead water tank fitted with gate valve and canvas hose/coupling or fire tank filler with a 22,000 litre capacity is recommended. Ensure your water supply is close to the house. Do not have exposed areas of plastic pipe or hose that can burn.

Gravity fed water tanks with wide opening outlets allows quick filling of buckets and use of your portable pump. Fit gate valves to all new tanks to use your pumping equipment.

Pump and Equipment

A 5hp (3.7kw) portable diesel or petrol motor coupled to a 38mm centrifugal fire pump will provide the independent water pressure needed for your emergency firefighting system when mains power is cut.

  • Make sure the pump can be operated by any member of the family.
  • Check the pump weekly during the Fire Danger Season to be sure it is fuelled and starts readily.
  • A key start ignition is ideal.
  • Keep the pump in a readily accessible shed in a protected area on the side of the house.

A general purpose petrol engine pump will work efficiently providing it has protection from the radiant heat to prevent fuel vaporization.

A portable water pump will ensure sufficient water pressure during a bushfire emergency.

The pump should have:

  • Protective housing to stop fuel vaporization.
  • Adequate ventilation for air cooling of the unit.
  • An in-line filter to reduce the chance of blockage.
  • House the pump in a readily accessible shed protected on the side of the house away from the most likely direction of future bushfires.

How much water will you need?

This is a difficult question to answer. Some homes have been saved using bucketed water from a small gravity-fed tank, while others equipped with pools and pumps have been lost. However, the CFS recommends at least 5000 litres for fire fighting (using a fire pump with hoses etc) or 22,000 litres if you have installed a sprinkler system.
Ideas for water storage

  • Fill your kitchen sink, bath and laundry trough when you first become aware of a bush fire.
  • Place 200 litre drums and buckets in strategic locations and fill them at the start of the bush fire danger season.
  • Rubbish bins and stock-feed bins can be filled on bush fire danger days.
  • Your hot water service will always have water. Make sure you know how to access it safely.
  • Tanks vary in size from 1000 litres to 20,000 litres and materials include galvanised iron, concrete, fibreglass and polyethylene.
  • A 64 mm London round thread (male) tap fitting will enable CFS to tap into your water supply.
  • If your house is on mains water you can run it through a storage tank making sure your tank is always full.
  • If you plan to install a tank, you may consider spending a little more on a swimming pool and enjoy the added benefits.

Water distribution options

  • Knapsacks - knapsack sprays are fairly heavy, but may be half-filled for greater portability.
  • Hoses - use a large diameter garden hose (19mm) or specialised fire fighting hose. Hoses should be fitted with an adjustable firefighting nozzle that is capable of withstanding the pump pressure.
  • Firefighting pumps - a 5hp petrol or diesel-powered pump with manual or electric start is ideal for most situations. Test the pump regularly prior to and during the fire danger season.
  • Sprinkler systems - specially designed plumbing systems of strategically placed taps and sprinklers are extremely useful in areas of extreme fire danger.
  • Other options include a bucket and mop - they don't need fuel, can be relied on to function and will cope with most small fires.
  • Pump and water supplies should be placed in an area that is protected from the impact of bush fire, but is still easily accessible.