In early 2006 new Australian Standards national building legislation, developed in response to the 2003 Canberra fires that killed four people and destroyed 530 homes, will be passed with an aim of minimising fire damage and saving lives.

Cities are increasingly expanding into surrounding bushland, becoming exposed to new levels of danger. Government research shows bushfire risk days are becoming more frequent as global warming brings hotter, drier weather. The Bureau of Meteorology has declared this year, so far, the hottest on record.

In response to the increasing threat, Trend Windows & Doors, in conjunction with CSIRO, has spent two years researching how to better protect homes from bushfires through window and door failure. The result is the new window technology, Xtreme Windows, which can withstand the highest levels of heat reached by extreme range bushfires (40KW/m2 of radiant heat).

Colin Forster, managing director of Trend Window s, explains the significance of this development. “Contrary to popular belief, houses don’t explode in fireballs as a fire front passes. Most homes survive the fire only to burn down after the front has actually passed, usually through the failure of window and door or glazing systems which allow airborne embers created by the fire front to ignite combustible material within the home or building.”

“A properly constructed home, with fire resistant windows, doors and building envelope, stands a very good chance of survival against even the worst bushfire,” he says. “Xtreme Windows is a new technology and is a quintessential ingredient to saving lives and protecting property. Xtreme is unlike any other window in the Australian market or for that matter the world. The entire Xtreme system, together with toughened safety glass, the Pyro-Protec sealing system and the Van Door sealing system is designed to survive the fire front and the resulting ember storm that follows the fire, thereby ensuring that the home or building and its precious contents are protected.”

A fireproof home is the ultimate insurance policy. The new building legislation and improved technology will advance fire safety in Australian homes and give peace of mind to those living in them.