Apartment residents must take extra care if they intend to fire up the balcony barbecue this Australia Day as the risk with high-rise balcony barbecues was higher than with other types of property.
These kinds of fires can see items other than food catch alight or, worse, gas bottles explode, potentially causing a major structural fire that can have devastating consequences.
Lots of strata properties do not allow balcony barbecues, instead preferring such fires were lit in a separate communal space with built in barbecues.
People who are allowed to have balcony barbecues must exercise a high-degree caution and be responsible.
A lot of combustibles tend to be stored on balconies, so if you’re firing a BBQ up make sure it’s clear of combustibles and have a fire extinguisher available.
If you do have any flare-ups, flip the lid down and turn main valve off if it is safe to do so.
You should be aware of conditions on the balcony, if it’s too windy it could be a danger to you and your neighbours.
Make sure the area was well-ventilated, and that the grease tray was clean before and after use, and that the cylinder was turned off when not in use.
Balcony barbecue 10-point checklist:
1. Never use propane – the risk of explosion is too high
2. Never use an LPG gas barbecue in a confined space. Ensure area is open and well-ventilated
3. Barbecues and gas bottles should be at least 1.5m away from flammable materials (timber, walls, carpets, curtains and blinds), wall openings (windows, doorways), electrical ignition sources (power-points, air conditioners, lights and bug zappers) and open flames (candles).
4. Only have one gas bottle (up to 9kg) on a balcony and never store spare or empty gas bottles indoors.
5. Check gas bottles, connections and regulators regularly and turn gas off as soon as cooking is finished
6. Ensure a fire extinguisher (dry chemical powder type is best) is at hand – and know how to use it
7. Never leave a balcony barbecue unattended when cooking
8. Wear appropriate clothing – don’t wear clothing that is too loose and may catch alight
9. Minimise the chance of smoke or unwanted smells annoying neighbours or damaging walls or painted surfaces by keeping grease tray clean, cooking on low-medium heat settings and lowering the lid on barbecues that have them.
10. Keep noise to an acceptable level and don’t allow rubbish to be thrown over the balcony, nor washing-down water to flow over onto the units below.
Have fun and Stay Safe this Australia Day weekend!