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Avoid serious snags this Australia Day

Published: 21st January 2013

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner Greg Mullins has urged people to avoid any serious snags over the summer holiday period and play it safe when firing up the barbecue.

Commissioner Mullins said thousands of people celebrate the holidays and special days such as Australia Day with a barbecue for family and friends but sometimes these get-togethers end in injuries and damage to properties.

“Last summer there were 28 barbecue-related incidents across NSW – five on Australia Day 2012 - with the vast majority involving gas barbecues,” he said.

“Already this year we’ve seen more than 20 barbecue-related incidents. Faulty or damaged gas cylinders and lines caused many of these as did people leaving their barbecue cooking unattended and not cleaning their barbecue properly.

“By following some simple precautions you can protect yourself and keep other people safe.

“Make sure your gas cylinders and hoses are in good condition before you fire up the barbecue and keep it properly serviced and maintained.

“Never leave your cooking unattended and ensure the fire is extinguished or the gas bottle is turned off when you’re finished.”

Commissioner Mullins said over the past two weeks, FRNSW firefighters had been called to several barbecue fires while Total Fire Bans were in force.

“On days of Total Fire Ban, no fires, including wood and charcoal barbecues, can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended. Gas and electric barbecues are permitted but must be kept at least two metres away from combustible materials such as trees and shrubs, and within 20 metres of a permanent dwelling or approved picnic area.”

FRNSW’s barbecue safety tips include:

  • Service and maintain your barbecue correctly - check cylinders for rust or damage and make sure connections are clear and fit properly before lighting. Check the date on your cylinder to make sure it’s in date.
  • Clean your barbecue after use and ensure there is no fat or oil left in the drip tray.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the correct start up and shut down procedures.
  • Check Total Fire Ban details before lighting your barbecue.
  • Never put flammable liquid on to a barbecue.
  • Keep children away from the barbecue and store lighters and matches in a secure place.
  • If a gas leak occurs, and it is safe to do so, shut off the cylinder immediately and allow any gas to disperse.
  • After use, make sure the gas is turned off at the cylinder.
  • Call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency.

For more information on barbecue fire safety visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au or check Total Fire Bans information on www.rfs.nsw.gov.au