Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) is calling on all outdoor grillers to ensure their barbecue gas bottle connections are safe before they start sizzling this Australia Day.
ESV’s Know the Drill Before You Grill campaign aims to inform Victorians about a few simple safety tips that will help avoid the dangers of damaged, old or loose LP gas cylinder connections, causing fires and putting lives and property at risk.
Barbecue-related incidents are more common than most think with Fire Rescue Victoria and the CFA receiving a combined 63 calls relating to barbecue-related fires across the state during 2020-21.
In one instance, a man replaced an empty barbecue cylinder but only partially screwed in the new connection.
When he lit the barbecue without checking the connection for leaks, the gas ignited, resulting in severe burns and damage to the property.
Another incident occurred when a cook decided to check the cylinder connection after the barbecue was lit.
Unfortunately, he did not realise the thread was left handed and twisted the connection the wrong way, disconnecting the hose from the cylinder.
This created a large high-pressure leak that was ignited by the barbecue, resulting in the cook receiving serious burns.
Most fires caused by gas leaks can be avoided by simply using a plastic bottle filled with soapy water (dishwashing liquid and water works), which can be squirted on the cylinder connection after turning the gas on.
This test should be conducted every time the barbecue is used.
If no bubbles appear, you’re safe to cook.
If you see bubbles, turn off the gas immediately and re-check the hose and connections to make sure they are tight.
Re-test with soapy water, and if bubbles still form then turn off the gas, as your LP Gas cylinder or hose regulator assembly may need replacing.
ESV commissioner and chairperson Marnie Williams said: “Australia Day barbecues are an important tradition for many Victorians, but things can go wrong quickly if safety measures aren’t followed.
“We’ve seen what can happen when people fire up their barbecues with badly connected, old or damaged cylinders.
“Check your connections with a soapy water mixture, ensure there are no leaks and enjoy an Australia Day barbecue.”
Barbecuers are also urged to inspect the hose for signs of perishing or cracking – if the hose is cracked or damaged, don’t use the barbecue until the hose assembly has been replaced.