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Friday, September 23, 2011

Campfire and BBQ safety these holidays

Enjoying a campfire or barbecue with the family during the school holiday break can be fun, but residents should be mindful of the dangers. 

To ensure Queensland families have an enjoyable and safe holiday period, the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) and Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) is reminding people campfires and barbecue equipment can cause serious injury. 

QFRS Brisbane Region Assistant Commissioner Ian Mitchell said it was important residents did not drop the ball with safety when venturing out to camp or have a barbecue these school holidays. 

People using gas barbecues need to remember they are working with the very hazardous materials of gas and fire and it is important to make sure gas cylinders and barbecue hoses and valves are tested before use,” Mr Mitchell said.  

People should also keep in mind campfires should only be lit in an open and safe area away from structures and vegetation, they should be contained in a fire pit and never be left unattended. They should also be less than one square metre in size. 

On a high fire danger day, a small campfire can spread very quickly and without warning have the potential to threaten surrounding land, homes, other structures and even lives.” 

Mr Mitchell reminded residents a Fire Danger Period is currently in place until midnight on Sunday 1 January, 2012 and impacts the rules concerning the lighting of fires in Queensland. 

Residents are only permitted to light a fire for cooking or warmth without a permit providing it is lit within a prepared fireplace, which is an area cleared of flammable material around and above the area. 

“People should be mindful of this change when lighting a campfire.” 

Mr Mitchell also reminded residents that campfires should be extinguished with water, not with dirt or sand.  

“A fire covered with dirt or sand can hold more than 100 degrees of heat for up to 24 hours after it has been extinguished but a fire extinguished with water holds almost no heat 10 minutes later, he said. 

QAS Brisbane Region Acting Assistant Commissioner Gavin Trembath said following simple procedures about the lighting and extinguishing of fires and being aware of the proximity of children to open fires and barbeques could prevent serious injury 

“While camp fires are a traditional part of the Australian camping experience, they have the potential to cause injuries that can tragically last a life time,” Mr Trembath said. 

Mr Trembath said QAS recommended people remember to apply the same rules around a campfire or barbeque as they would around hot objects in the home. 

“Keep hot objects well out of reach of children, turn saucepan handles away from the edge and keep a close eye on young ones,” he said.  

“Burns can result from steam off hot liquids just as easily as they can from contact with direct flames.” 

In the event of an accident call triple zero (000) for immediate ambulance assistance. Burns can be treated immediately by running cold water over the affected area.