Pioneer’s structural steel tank body with internal liner provides excellent resistance to flames applied directly onto the tank body due to a passing bush fire front. It’s important to clarify that our Zincalume® and Colorbond® tank panels may be subject to accelerated corrosion and structural degradation after significant exposure to immersive flames.
What is vitally important and a key benefit to having a Pioneer steel tank is that even after a significant fire front has passed over the tank, the tank retains its structural integrity, and will continue to hold the stored water. When directly exposed to the extreme heat of a bushfire, the tank liner will melt down to the surface of the stored water, but structural integrity of the tank remains and the water is still available for firefighting purposes. In many cases the tank will still be usable for several months after the fire.
Video of Pioneer water tank in simulated bushfire test
Pioneer water tanks have been assessed for fire performance by the CSIRO in conjunction with the Bushfire CRC, who conducted extensive bushfire simulations and performance assessments on Pioneer water tanks and poly tanks. The independent report is available for download here.
The time immediately after a fire has been through a property is when water is desperately needed for stock watering and possible further firefighting. The internal tank liner may melt in places above the water level, however the tank itself is structurally secure and the remaining water is available for use.
Following the direct immersion of a tank in a fire front, the tank water should not be used for human consumption as there will be some pollution in the water from ash and other fire debris, plus from the melted liner above the water line. The remaining water will be ok to retain in the short term for stock watering and firefighting.
It’s also important to point out that if a fire only passes on one side of a Pioneer tank, the panels are modular, so if they are damaged they can be replaced as required. Small areas of heat damage on the tank liner can be patched, or the liner can be replaced. Your local Pioneer dealer can make this assessment and develop a plan of action to get your tank back into full service as soon as possible.
By comparison, poly tanks are made of petroleum based products which soften when heated and then structurally fail during a fire event. This catastrophic failure results in the complete loss of all water and puts an immediate end to emergency firefighting activities. Poly tanks will also catch fire and burn, adding further fuel to the fire.
What to do if your Pioneer water tank has been affected by fire:
It is recommended that a Pioneer dealer assesses a fire affected tank to determine the extent of the damage, however it can be difficult to determine the extent of the material coating and structural degradation.
Poly water tank – showing catastrophic failure during bushfire event
Pioneer water tank remained fully operational and largely unaffected by bushfire event
It is recommended that a Pioneer Water Tanks dealer be engaged to assess a fire affected tank to determine the extent of the damage. On severely fire affected tanks it can be difficult to determine the extent of damage to the steel coatings and the effect of intense heat on structural integrity.
Severely fire affected tanks may be deemed to be beyond cost effective repair due to potential loss of structural integrity and the recommendation may be made to replace the tank. If customers choose to ignore this recommendation and request that their tank be repaired, then a “Fire Waiver” can be completed to proceed to repair the tank. This will enable a repair to be made, rather than a complete tank replacement, at the discretion and liability of the owner, however the tank is no longer covered by Pioneer’s product warranty.
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Your Pioneer Water Tank can be equipped with a fire protection valve, and water reserve supply to assist local fire authorities in having access to water if your home is threatened by a bushfire (see below).
Before installing a fire protection valve, check in with your local shire and/or bush fire brigade to know your particular requirements.