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102 reasons to be barbecue safe this summer

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16 Dec 2016
As summer heats up, MFB is urging all Melburnians to be barbecue-safe.

Firefighters attended 102 barbecue fires in Melbourne last summer season, resulting in more than $125,000 in property damage.

Common causes include faulty hoses and connections, leaking gas bottles, barbecues too close to walls and a build-up of fats and oils.

With an increase in apartment-style living across Melbourne, MFB Acting Chief Officer Paul Stacchino has reminded all barbecue users to be safe when they fire them up.

“A barbecue on a warm summer night is an Australian staple, but be sure your barbecue is a safe distance from walls, fences and other property and is maintained regularly,” he said.

“If the connections on your barbecue are loose, the hose has perished or the cylinder has been damaged you could be putting your loved ones at risk of serious injury or even death.

"Most barbecue fires could have been avoided if a little more care was taken with the use and maintenance of gas barbecues."

MFB is urging anyone who experiences a barbecue fire to call Triple Zero and, only if it’s safe, turn off the gas at the cylinder of meter.

“If your barbecue catches fire, don’t try to extinguish the flames because you could burn yourself or those around you, and even make the fire spread further,” Mr Stacchino said.

“Cleaning your barbecue regularly will prevent a build-up of flammable fats and oils and you should also consider wearing an apron – they’re not just a fashion choice, they can help protect you from hot fat.”

MFB encourages people to follow these simple tips to ensure your barbecue is safe:

  • Check the LP gas cylinder on your barbecue before you turn it on. A cylinder must not be refilled if it hasn’t been tested for more than 10 years or if the cylinder has been damaged.
  • To have your gas cylinder tested ensure you use a licensed gasfitter
  • You can exchange LP gas cylinders at a reputable supplier
  • Check the hose to make sure it has not deteriorated
  • Check the connections to make sure they are tight and that the O rings are in good condition and have not cracked or split
  • Spray the hose and regulator connections with soapy water every time you connect it to the cylinder. If bubbles form, gas is leaking and you need to check connections and replace if damaged
  • Use your barbecue in a clear space. Never use it indoors or in a confined area and ensure there is adequate clearance from walls, fences, and other property
  • Cook with barbecue utensils and wear an apron to protect yourself from hot fat
  • Remove excess fat from the barbecue after each use to prevent fires
  • Do not use barbecues in windy conditions as the burners may blow out, risking a gas leak

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