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Take care with barbecues during Grand Final celebrations

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27 Sep 2012
Footy fans are being urged to play it safe when they take their barbecues out of winter hibernation for Grand Final celebrations this weekend.

MFB Chief Officer Shane Wright is urging all footy fans to ensure their LP gas barbecues are in good working order before firing them up for the big game this Saturday.  Grand Final day is often the first time many people will use their barbecues since last summer, so it is vital to check that the gas cylinder, hose and connections are working properly.
“Barbecues are a great way to get together with friends and family but they can cause serious injury or even death if the hose has perished, the connections are loose or the cylinder has been damaged,” Mr Wright said.

“You can check the hose and regulator connections are safe by spraying them with soapy water. Bubbles will form if gas is escaping. If you’ve got any doubts about the connections, turn off the gas and contact a licensed gasfitter. You should leak-test the connection to the gas cylinder every time you connect it.  And remember, a barbecue should not be left unattended.”
Statistics from the past financial year show we are about to enter the peak period for barbecue fires, with the weather warming up and celebratory occasions such as the AFL Grand Final and Spring Racing Carnival on their way.

Already this month MFB has attended eight barbecue-related fires, including:
• a 17-year-old male who received burns to his forehead and wrist after using petrol from a plastic oil container to speed up the process of heating a barbecue;
• a fire caused by petrol igniting in fuel container next to barbecue; and
• food left unattended cooking on low heat on barbecue causing a fat fire.

MFB Director of Community Resilience, Rob Taylor said firefighters often see first-hand the damage and trauma that can be caused by faulty gas barbecues.
“Firefighters are often called to attend barbecue-related incidents when people celebrate major events, but most of these could be avoided if a little more care was taken with the use and maintenance of gas barbecues,” he said.

To ensure you have a safe BBQ this Grand Final weekend:
• 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
• 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 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
• If a fire occurs, don’t try to extinguish the flames if is not safe. Turn off the gas at the meter or cylinder but only if you can do so safely

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