AUSTRALIA Day and one of its most famous bits, the iconic barbecue, can be a health hazard if you’re not careful.
Emergency services and health units have joined local firefighters in warning about the dangers of firing up the barbie to celebrate our national day today. They’re keen to make sure fireworks are the only thing to explode this Australia Day and have urged barbecue owners to cook safely.
The warnings come just days after a 30-year-old man at Walcha was taken to hospital with a burn to his face after his barbecue blew up in his face.
Paramedics said the man went to light the barbecue before it exploded. He was taken to Walcha Hospital and has since been released.
He is only one of scores who have been hurt trying to light their barbecues.
Fire & Rescue NSW this week reported that there had been 28 barbecue-related incidents across NSW last year, five of them on Australia Day, with most involving gas barbecues.
With thousands of people across the region tipped to throw a few snags on the barbie this weekend, firefighters have urged residents to ensure their equipment is properly maintained and not to take any risks.
Last year in Tamworth, firefighters were called to several barbecue fires across the city – most during the city’s country music festival.
Fire station officer Bob Luck said barbecue fires were unpredictable.
“You never know when they could happen,” he said. “They could be ready to give way at anytime and they’re one of those things you can’t predict.” Fire was best prevented when adequate safety steps were followed.
“Last year we attended a few, mostly during the festival, and many were to campers. We haven’t had any yet but we’re ready at a moment’s notice.”
NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins said there had been 20 barbecue-related fires across the state so far this year.
Faulty gas cylinders and lines caused many, as well as people leaving their barbecue unattended while cooking and not cleaning the barbie properly.