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Sunday, 20 January, 2019,01:52

CFA & MFB urge caution during Festive Season


Festive lights and BBQ’s are two Christmas classics that can present fire risks that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a potentially devastating one.

“We want everyone to decorate and celebrate responsibly,” said Chief Officer/CEO Dan Stephens. “There are simple steps people can take to stay safe over Christmas.”

Electrical fires are among the top causes of house fires in Victoria each year. And even if Christmas lights meet Australian Safety Standards they can pose a risk if they are damaged or used improperly.

“If you are using Christmas lights, check that they are in good working order and have no missing bulbs or frayed cords,” Mr Stephens said. “Also, avoid overloading power points and boards and turn your Christmas lights off when leaving the house or before going to bed to ensure they don’t overheat.”

“For those using a real Christmas tree this year, keep your tree hydrated. Just a few days without water could be enough to dry out the tree which can catch fire easily.

“And most importantly, ensure your smoke alarm is in working order to alert you in the event of a fire and that you know and have practiced your fire escape plan with your family as vital seconds can make all the difference.”

Firing up the barbecue is a favourite Aussie past time – especially during the festive season. CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington is warning Victorians to be vigilant around their BBQs.

“Victorians love to fire up their BBQs especially when it’s hot but it’s important to do this safely,” said Mr Warrington. “Checking your barbecue is quick and easy to do; spending a few minutes inspecting your connections will make sure our firefighters don’t spoil your Christmas lunch.”

“Checking is simple; just spray the hose and regulator connections with soapy water before firing up the barbeque if bubbles appear you’ll know gas is escaping. This means you need to either correct the connections or replace your hose altogether. If you’re not sure or have any doubts, turn off the gas and replace the connection or contact a licensed gasfitter.”

CFA responds to an increasing number of BBQ related incidents over the Christmas and New Year’s period despite how easy it can be to check your BBQs.

“You should do this test every time you connect your gas to your BBQ.

“It’s really simple If your connections are loose or either the hose or cylinder has been damaged you could be putting your loved ones at risk of serious injury or even death.

“We all love a BBQ let’s make sure we do it safely and enjoy our breaks.”

Top Christmas safety tips:

  • When shopping for Christmas lights make sure you check that they meet Australian Safety Standards.
  • Consider using battery-operated LED lights which don’t require electricity.
  • Inspect your Christmas lights for any sign of damage or wear and tear.
  • Don’t use light sets with missing globes.
  • When decorating the outside of your home, choose lights and fittings designed for external use.
  • Make sure you have a safety switch in your meter box or have a qualified electrician install one.
  • Use no more than three sets of lights per power board, even if there are four or more outlets on it. Avoid using double adaptors.
  • Make sure electric cords are completely uncoiled and are not placed under rugs or mats.
  • Place your tree as far as possible from any heat source, curtains or furnishings.
  • Maintain water in the base of natural Christmas trees to stop them drying out and remove lights once they show signs of drying.
  • Safely dispose of your Christmas tree after you take it down as they can provide fuel for fires if discarded.
  • If you’re firing up the BBQ make sure you give your BBQ once-over. Check to see that there are no loose connections or damages to the gas cylinders.

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