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Alcohol and Fire a Deadly Mix

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17 Oct 2008
The MFB is warning Melbournians about the dangers of mixing alcohol and fire as summer and the festive season approaches.

Recent research conducted by the MFB, Monash University and the Alfred Hospital has shown that alcohol can be a significant contributor to fire/smoke inhalation injuries.

Alcohol intake contributes to unsafe behavior around fire as well as increasing the severity of injury in the event of a fire due to slower reaction times, impaired judgment and inappropriate or lack of first aid.

MFB senior station officer Murray Talbot said that a common cause of house fires during the holiday season is people forgetting to check food on barbecues.

“As the weather warms up, we urge people to be careful while cooking and consider limiting alcohol intake when using barbecues or cooking on an open flame.

“Barbecues should never be left unattended, especially when there are children around, and children should always be supervised around any kind of cooking,” he said.

Senior station officer Talbot said that the warnings were especially necessary in Melbourne, as the festive season often begins for many young people with the spring racing carnival.

“Many fires are the result of carelessness, and alcohol can contribute to people not being as alert as they usually in regards to potential fire hazards,” he said.

The MFB stresses that it is crucial that all homes have a working smoke alarm to warn them in the event of a fire. In particular, alcohol can impact senses and make people less aware of the sounds and smells of fire danger.

“Firefighters are urging people to take care and celebrate the holidays safely, particularly when alcohol is involved. A hangover lasts for a day but the scars can last for a lifetime,” said senior station officer Talbot.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact the Media and Communications Department on (03) 9665 4394 or media@mfb.vic.gov.au

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