Summer is here and with it, barbeque season. If you have tenants in apartments with balconies, here are some tips you should be sharing with them for the summer months.
“The risk with balcony barbecues is higher, because these kind of fires can see items other than food catch alight or, worse, gas bottles explode, potentially causing a major structural fire that will leave many people homeless,” Archers the Strata Professionals partner Grant Mifsud said.
“Experience shows that such fires are largely caused by wear and tear on gas hoses and burners or unsafe use of barbecues. Studies have also shown these sorts of fires often take longer to detect, involve greater suppression efforts and cause more damage than fires that start within a building,” Mr Mifsud said.
Balcony BBQs are riskier than those in house because of an absence of sprinklers and a presence of higher wind speeds, he said.
Mr Mifsud provided some tips on keeping balcony BBQs safe.
Here are the top 10 balcony BBQ tips to pass on to your tenants -
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 1.5 metres 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/empty gas bottles indoors;
5. Keep all gas bottles, connections and regulators in good condition. Check them regularly and turn the gas off as soon as you have finished cooking;
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 barbeque unattended when cooking;
8. Wear appropriate clothing. Do not wear clothing that is too loose and may catch alight;
9. To minimise the chance of smoke or unwanted smells annoying your neighbours or damaging walls and painted surfaces, ensure your grease tray is clean before you light your barbecue, cook on low-medium heat settings and, if using a lidded barbecue, lower the lid when not checking food;
10. Keep noise to an acceptable level and do not allow rubbish to be thrown over the balcony or washing-down water to flow over on to the units below.