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BBQ Gas Safety

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22 Dec 2009
Barbecue fires a safety risk these holidays

The MFB and CFA – together with the state’s gas safety “watchdog”, Energy Safe Victoria (ESV), and  the Victorian Adult Burns Service at The Alfred Hospital are urging the community to be particularly careful when using barbecues throughout this summer period.

Only last weekend, MFB crews were called to an explosion and fire at a unit in Surrey Hills, when a gas cloud from a barbecue gas cylinder ignited, and four people (parents and two children) suffered burns and were taken to Box Hill and Alfred Hospitals.

More than half the injuries sustained by Victorians from gas use each year involve domestic barbecues.

In many cases people will be using their barbecues for the first time in several months without recognising the risks of leaving equipment unchecked for long periods.

Over the winter months unused barbecues and gas bottles still need to be maintained. If simple precautions aren’t taken before appliances are re-lit, family gatherings and other parties can take a dangerous and sometimes tragic turn.

Over the holiday period, it is important the community take these simple precautions. Make sure:

  • The barbecue and gas cylinders are in good condition
  • Connecting hoses between the cylinder and appliance are not damaged or leaking gas
  • Use soapy water on hoses to check for leaks
  • Ensure hand-tightened cylinder connections are as tight as they can go – in the case of other fittings use a spanner if possible
  • Do not drink too much alcohol when in charge of a BBQ. It can impair judgement and delay appropriate safety activities in cases of emergency
  • Never leave the barbecue unattended when cooking
  • Always seek medical attention if a burn occurs
  • Never use barbecues or other outdoor appliances inside the house
  • Always store cylinders outside
  • If a wok burner is fitted to the barbecue, make sure its connections are tight
  • Do not leave gas cylinders on the transit hook when a barbecue is in use
  • Only transport LP gas cylinders in an upright and securely fastened position
  • Always ensure adequate ventilation when using your BBQ – BBQs must always be used in well ventilated, outdoor areas.

ESV together with the fire agencies has produced a gas safety television commercial warning of the dangers of outdoor gas appliances. In addition, a new brochure has also been published advising the safety precautions required to ensure BBQs operate safely at all times. The brochure also advises the community to engage licensed gasfitters to regularly check and maintain barbecues.

For more information visit: www.esv.vic.gov.au

Always treat gas with respect, and stay safe this holiday season.

For further information or interviews contact:
Commander Frank Stockton, MFB Manager Public Education
9420 3878    0412 252 358

David Guthrie-Jones, ESV Communications Advisor 
9203 9700     0409 542 083

Penny Wolf, CFA Community Development Coordinator
9262 8409     0409 506 614

Brendan Carroll, Public Affairs, The Alfred
9076 2266     0400 393 393

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