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Stay safe this Australia Day

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25 Jan 2013
Fire authorities have joined forces in urging Victorians to stay safe over the Australia Day long weekend.

As Victorians get set to celebrate the Australia Day long weekend, CFA and MFB are asking residents across the state to stay safe around gas barbecues and avoid setting off illegal fireworks.

CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson urged all Victorians to enjoy our national holiday safely.

“CFA and MFB are often called to attend barbecue-related incidents on holidays such as this, which can result in serious injury or even death if a barbecue hose has perished, the connections are loose or the cylinder has been damaged,” Mr Ferguson said.

“Days like Australia Day are traditionally when friends and family get together over a sausage and a lamb chop, but you don’t want a fire to ruin the celebrations.

“Most accidents could be avoided if a little more care was taken with the use and maintenance of gas barbecues. People need to be sensible and recognise the risks, especially given the recent warm weather and dry conditions.”

MFB Chief Officer Shane Wright urged people to remember the heightened threat of fire danger during the summer months when people relax on holiday and let their guard down.

He warned illegal fireworks have the potential to start fires and cause serious damage to property, grass and bush land and most importantly threaten lives.

“We know Australia Day can be a time when people over indulge, and this can have potentially devastating effects on what should be an enjoyable day,” he said.

“Be safe around barbecues and don’t participate in or use illegal fireworks. People caught with illegal fireworks can face severe penalties including jail.”

To keep safe with barbecues this Australia Day:

• 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. You can exchange LP gas cylinders at a reputable supplier

• Check the hose to make sure it has not perished

• Check the connections to make sure they are tight and that the O rings are in good condition and have not cracked or split

• Use your barbecue in a clear space. Never use it indoors or in a confined area and ensure there is adequate clearance

• Remove excess fat from the barbecue after each use to prevent fires

• Do not use barbecues in windy conditions as burners may blow out, risking a gas leak.

• If a fire occurs, don’t try to extinguish the flames if it is not safe. Turn off the gas at the meter or cylinder but only if you can do so safely.

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