Safe check your barbecue before cup day

Residents should be mindful to monitor and check conditions before firing up their barbecue (Unsplash/Evan Wise).

Country Fire Authority (CFA) is urging Hume and Whittlesea residents to be extra vigilant this Melbourne Cup weekend, for outdoor activities and barbecue gatherings, to prevent fires.

Temperatures set to reach the mid to high twenties in most parts of the state over the next week.

Residents, particularly in the west, should be mindful to monitor and check conditions before firing up their barbecue, lighting a campfire or burning off.

Having responded to more than 209 barbecue fires within CFA’s response area between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023, chief officer Jason Heffernan encourages people to conduct a quick safety check before igniting.

“Take a few minutes to inspect your gas bottle for leaks before you connect it to keep you and your loved ones safe,” chief officer Heffernan said.

“Before turning it on, give the hose and regular connections a spray with soapy water. You’ll then know if there is a leak when you turn on the gas, because soapy bubbles will appear.

“If this happens, turn off the gas and correct or replace the connections. Taking the time to do this could save your property and family’s life.”

Chief officer Jason Heffernan reminded Victorians to make sure they place their barbecues in an outdoor area clear from confined walls to avoid preventable fires.

“Never leave your cooking unattended and make sure you’ve removed any flammable items nearby before cooking,” he said.

“If your barbecue does catch fire, turn off the gas at the cylinder or meter, but only if it is safe to do so, and if you’re unable to extinguish the fire safely, call triple-0.”

Private burn-offs, barbecues and backyard campfires can quickly escape and spark if left unattended.

“Make sure to check the fire danger ratings before igniting a campfire or barbecue in their backyard,” chief officer Heffernan said.

“The quickest and easiest way to safeguard yourself and the rest of the community is to register your burn-off using the fire permits Victoria website.

“Check and monitor local conditions on the day, as well as coming days before your activity as they can change quickly, and see fires becoming out of control within minutes.”