Image showing CSIRO’s House Survival Meter, with circular scales and instructions for use.

The House Survival Meter.

Wilson's Bushfire House Survival Meter

Wilson’s Bushfire House Survival Meter uses six important factors to calculate the probability that a house will survive a bushfire.

  • 15 September 2008 | Updated 14 October 2011

The House Survival Meter (HSM) was designed by AAG Wilson in 1987 following research into the destruction of houses in Victoria, Australia, during the devastating 1983 Ash Wednesday fires.

Important factors

The HSM provides a guide to the probability of a house surviving a bushfire based on six significant factors.

These factors cover aspects of both expected fire behaviour and the conditions of the house in question.

Two factors give a measure of the expected severity of the fire under dangerous weather conditions:

  • fine fuel load around the house
    The easiest way to increase the probability of your house surviving a bushfire is to reduce the amount of fine fuel within 100 metres.
  • slope to windward of the house.

Other factors relate to the conditions of the house:

  • if the house is attended during the fire
  • wall cladding material (eg: weatherboard, brick)
  • roof covering material (eg: tile or wood shingle)
  • combustible fuel near the house (e.g fibrous-barked trees, wood heaps, sheds, brush fencing within 40 metres of the house).

Survival probability

The HSM combines these factors and determines a probability (from 0.1 per cent to 99.9 per cent) of your house surviving a bushfire.

The easiest and most effective way to increase the probability of your existing house surviving a bushfire is to reduce the amount of fine fuel within 100 metres of your house.

By selecting appropriate siting and materials for your new house, you can increase the chance of your house surviving a bushfire.

Image showing CSIRO’s House Survival Meter, with circular scales and instructions for use.

 

To view picture click on image.

 

Obtaining a house survival meter

All fire danger meters produced by CSIRO are available from:

Styrox (Aust) Pty Ltd
PO Box 461
Mona Vale NSW 2103
ph: +61 2 9997 1000
fax: +61 2 9997 2924

Learn more about our research in Bushfires.