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Fireproof Housedrape

Can't put it out? Keep it out!
  [vote for,

Fires has been burning stuff lately. Some of the things are expensive or historically important buildings that people would be willing to pay big bucks to save. It would be nice to have robosprinklers etc, but sometimes water is just not enough. Also many of these things require a reservoir of water to work, and human direction to work well.

BUNGCO introduces the Fireproof Housedrape. This was inspired by the big drapes used to tent houses for fumigation, as well as the fireproof blankets carried by firefighters in case they need to hunker down and let the fire pass by them. One or more sets of fireproof drapes is mounted atop the house, folded and ready. It can sit up there for years if need be. The drapes can be deployed in a few seconds by triggering airbag-like charges. The weighted bottom poles shoot out then fall down across the house, enveloping it in fireproof fabric. It can be triggered by the owner, by the fire department, or by a heat sensor. Now embers and flame tornadoes can rage around your house - but they wont get in. After the fire has passed, the housedrape can be returned to the company, and a new one installed.

bungston, Oct 29 2007

Spray on solution Exploding_20Firefighting_20Mushrooms
[AusCan531, Jul 25 2012]


       This sounds quite feasible, even practical. But even so, [+]
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 29 2007

       I wondered when our fire woes here in San Diego would get to the 'bakery. I myself have considered and rejected a couple of ideas, none as good as this one.   

       I'm one of the fortunate ones, didn't even have to evacuate, just holed up at home and breathed smoke for a week.   

       I have two friends who only today returned to their still-standing home. They're volunteer firefighters up on Palomar mountain.
normzone, Oct 29 2007

       So the endrapenated house is akin to a potato wrapped in foil?
Texticle, Oct 29 2007

       Um... is this intended for occupied buildings? Because it kind of sounds like a deathtrap.
GutPunchLullabies, Oct 30 2007

       Oh, the fire is OUTSIDE. I live in a rainy cold place, I didn't understand.
GutPunchLullabies, Oct 30 2007

       Pretty good idea. Might provide the owner with an additional insurance break as well. [+]
Noexit, Oct 30 2007

       "Thing of beauty" ~ Hothouse Flowers.   

       Unfortunately ignition temperatures might still be reached for things like expanded foam, paint, nylon, certain plastics, wooden roof trusses, etc, within the household. Structural damage might not be mitigated due to expanding moisture retained in bricks.   

       Would be good with some form of CO2 detonation within the household fire blanket.
4whom, Oct 30 2007

       4whom's anno bakes it for me, but really, you had me at //Fires has been burning stuff lately//
BunsenHoneydew, Oct 31 2007

       Even with CO2 or another smotherer, you'd suffer heat deformation and heat scarring to wood.   

       But, still...something is better than nothing.
shapu, Oct 31 2007

       Wait: a realistic, deployable, useful idea on the 1/2B? Are you nuts?   

       Big asbestos bun!
elhigh, Oct 31 2007

       My entire town is a forest. Some of these trees are getting old, and we're thirteen inches behind on our rainfall this year. Things are kind of crispy.   

       Where could I get one of these?
elhigh, Oct 31 2007

       /Unfortunately ignition temperatures might still be reached /   

       Air is a good insulator. Most fires are spread by direct contact from burning material - sparks and embers. If your house faced a merrily burning neighbor there would be damage to that side. But imagine a case where an exterior wall, under the drape, was heated to ignition temperature. Without free air movement under there, available oxygen would quickly be used up - probably used up as the thing began to char. A charred wall is better than the loss of a whole house.   

       [Bunsen], that should have read "Fires done been burning stuff lately."
bungston, Oct 31 2007

       It occurs to me that the automatic deployment system might be offputting to some. This could be deployed like a regular house drape as well by having folks go up onto the roof and roll down sheets until the building was covered. It would be most useful for folks who get asome advance notice of an evacuation, and would probably be used mostly for isolated high-value structures - visitor centers, historic buildings, etc. Even without the explosives, it would still be costy just for the fabric.
bungston, Oct 31 2007

       "Cost is of no concern" - perhaps you could fire it out of a shoulder launcher.
normzone, Oct 31 2007

       I was thinking about this again in the context of more fires. There is stuff you can treat paper with to discourage burning. One could have a roll of this fire resistant paper. There are integral nylon strings to help anchor it. The width of this roll is the width of the house (one could use several smiller rolls in parallel as well). It is placed in the backyard and the free end weighted/staked. Telescoping rods held by two workers then lift the roll up and over the house, landing it in the front yard. If chimneys etc rip some holes in the paper that is fine - it will help it stay put. Anchor the paper in the front as well. One could deploy a second roll side to side if desired but over the roof might be enough.   

       This will not protect a house at the center of a raging inferno but will much decrease risk of fire from flying embers etc, which I understand is generally how such fires get to houses. It would be cheaper than the house drape. You could call and have BUNGCO come deploy it on short notice. You could buy some for your already evacuated neighbors so their houses dont light up and then take yours too. The house is still useable when draped.   

       Also works for low lying landscaping. Not effective against lava.
bungston, Jul 25 2012

       For that matter, there's no reason why this couldn't be a multi-layer barrier. A couple of alternating layers of mylar and corrugated mineral wool an inch or so thick would do a lot to reject heat, protecting the house unless it was baking in a fire for days.
MechE, Jul 25 2012

       // There is stuff you can treat paper with to discourage burning //   

       Shades of Farenheit 451 ... who would want to discourage paper from burning ?   

       Was Ray Bradbury cremated ? That would be so beautifully ironical ...
8th of 7, Jul 25 2012

       Although I generally have a problem with the term 'fireproof' (anything will burn if you try hard enough), I have a couple of welding blankets made from carbon- impregnated felted wool which I have yet to even scorch. They have caught the full blast of molten steel propelled by a carbon-arc gouger several times, and the nearly- white-hot metal has just beaded up and formed little pools on the surface of the blanket.   

       I see no reason why these couldn't be enlarged and perhaps thickened (mine are 4' x 6' x 1/4", retail cost approx. $80) to protect structures from wildfires. [+]
Alterother, Jul 25 2012

       They might face the same challenges life rafts do on boats - needing to be unpacked, fluffed up and tested, and then repackaged regularly.
normzone, Jul 25 2012


       Well, the fluffing up isn't a big deal, since they aren't very fluffy. They're very dense, not the kind of blanket you'd want to sleep under (and they smell like a fishtank filter).   

       The packaging and deployment would definitely be an issue. They could either be large, sack-like things that would be placed over the structure by a mobile crane or, in a pinch, a helicopter, or they could be modular affairs, assembled on-site from a number of smaller segments with overlapping seams. Either way, a special team of at least 4 or 5 laborers would be needed, and a truck to bring them to the site. I see this more as a prophylactic measure than something that could be immediately deployable.
Alterother, Jul 25 2012

       I see two ways of doing this: an always ready system would look like gutters along the roof of the house, and could even be mounted under the gutters and contain rolls of the fabric, along with more rolls along the peak of the roof. Simply release the bottoms of the containers and the cloth unrolls to cover the house. Having a complete, sealed tent isn't necessary, only the roof and flammable parts need to be covered. That might be ugly though, so it could be sold as a modular system of sheets that could be pinned up by the homeowner in a few hours. I think either system could realistically be done and cost several thousand dollars, but that money might be made up for by reduced insurance costs. As for the material a single layer of Nomex would probably do. Embers won't burn through it but a serious fire could. The ideal system would be two layers of Nomex or Kevlar with the outer layer being aluminized to reflect the heat away. A budget system could be as cheap as treated canvas. Sheets could be powdered and stored in sealed containers with shelf lives of ten years, easily.
DIYMatt, Jul 25 2012

       Have a walk around the perimeter of your home and look at how many protrusions and awkward shapes are attached or near to it. Not just chimneys but also utility wires, railings, carports, shrubs & trees and so on. Putting any physical covering over it is going to be a helluva job. Especially if there are the blustery winds usually associated with fire days. Imagine trying to deploy the treated paper suggestion when things are intense and evacuation orders are in place.   

       That is why I suggested my spray on solution [linked]. I've actually made a bt of progress on the design and might knock up a prototype one day.
AusCan531, Jul 25 2012

       [+] I can imagine that after the first few months, testing, fluffing, repacking, etc. gets old, the home owner stops doing it, and then when he has a REAL fire many years later, he's standing in the yard like, "Oh CRAP! How do I use this thing?"
Jscotty, Jul 26 2012

       That's why I suggested a service; the teams travel around the country (much like smokejumpers) with helicopters and boom trucks, expertly covering the houses of paying clients whilst leaving the others to burn, baby, burn.   

       Staff electricians expertly disconnect utility wires while ordnance techs set up the AusCanCorp 180mm Foam Mushroom Mortar Array when the fires are expected to be particularly hot. On-site pattern blockers and musclebound seamstresses customize the drapes to cover decks and porches, A/C units, outdoor boilers, etc. Sure, it costs twelve grand to save a split-level ranch, but that's a fraction of the cost to rebuild (and maybe covered by insurance, if BungCo employs especially convincing lawyers), and when the fire has passed you by and the drapes are removed, the power, restored, and the live ordnance deactivated, you can return to your pristine home and stand in your air-conditioned living room, gazing out at the devastation wrought upon your neighbors' homes, all because they didn't have the forsight to hire the BungCo Home Drapers.   

       Marshmallows cost extra.
Alterother, Jul 26 2012


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