- Wednesday, 22 September 2021 at 7:16 am
With the AFL Grand Final just around the corner, firefighters are calling for everyone to check their barbecue before firing it up.
CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said that while the all-Victorian Grand Final between the Demons and the Bulldogs will be played in Perth this year, Victorians will no doubt be keen to cheer on their favourite team from home.
“We can’t have visitors in our homes yet, but I know many Victorian families and house mates will be keen to fire up their barbecues for the first time of the season as they make the most of the Grand Final long weekend. Before tackling your sausages, it’s really important to do a few safety checks,” he said.
Chief Officer Heffernan said checking the connection on a gas barbecue is simple; just spray the hose and regulator connections with soapy water before firing up the barbecue.
“Soap bubbles will appear if gas is escaping,” he said. “If this occurs, turn off the gas and correct or replace the connections. Contact a licensed gasfitter if you need assistance or have any doubts about the connections.”
Fire Rescue Commissioner Ken Block said people should leak-test the gas cylinder every time they connect it.
“Spending a few minutes inspecting the connection before you turn on the gas will keep you and your loved ones safe,” he said.
Commissioner Block said cooking should never be left attended as many fires start in this way.
“The only siren we want you to hear this weekend is the one from Optus Stadium in Perth,” he said.
With most regional Victorians able to go camping or visit national parks this long weekend, Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman has urged caution around campfires.
“With many regional Victorians planning to enjoy the great outdoors during the long weekend and the remainder of the school holidays, it’s critically important campfire safety remains a priority,” he said.
“It’s crucial the community works with us to prevent bushfires from starting and pays attention to campfire safety – unattended campfires can spread quickly and have devastating impacts on communities and the environment.”
Unattended campfires should be reported to 136 186, bushfires should be reported to 000.
To make sure your barbecue is safe:
- If a fire occurs, don’t try to extinguish the flames if it is not safe to do so. Call Triple Zero (000) and turn off the gas at the meter or cylinder, but only if you can do so safely.
- 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.
- Have your gas cylinder tested and 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 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.
To make sure your campfire is safe:
- Never light a campfire on a Total Fire Ban Day
- In state forests, use a purpose-built fireplace if provided, otherwise use a trench greater than 30 cm deep. The campfire must not exceed one square metre, while three metres in the air and on the ground around your fire must be clear of flammable material.
- Branches and logs on your campfire must not exceed one metre in length
- Never leave a campfire unattended – stay within 50m and in sight
- Campfires must be extinguished with water, not soil, as fires can still smoulder under soil. If a fire is cool to touch, it is safe to leave.
- On the spot fines of $545 apply to those breaching campfire rules or a maximum penalty of up to $18,174 if the matter is prosecuted in court.
- Visit the fire agencies’ respective websites at cfa.vic.gov.au, frv.vic.gov.au and ffm.vic.gov.au for more fire safety information.
Keep up to date with the latest advice and restrictions on gatherings at coronavirus.vic.gov.au.