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Fire Safety on Australia Day

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24 Jan 2014
Victoria's fire services have joined forces to promote fire safe behaviour this Australia Day.

As Victorians get set to celebrate the Australia Day long weekend, the fire services, Victoria Police and Energy Safe Victoria are asking residents across the state to stay safe around gas barbecues and are strongly deterring people from setting off illegal fireworks.

CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson urged all Victorians to enjoy our national holiday safely.

“Australia Day is typically a day when family and friends get together and over a barbeque –
however if people don’t practice fire safety an incident could spoil the celebrations.

“CFA and MFB are often called to attend barbecue-related incidents on holidays such as this, which can result in serious injury or even death if a barbecue hose has perished, the connections are loose or the cylinder has been damaged,” Mr Ferguson said.

“Most accidents could be avoided if a little more care was taken with the use and maintenance of gas barbecues —people need to be sensible and recognise the risks, especially given the recent spell of hot weather and dry conditions.”

Acting MFB Chief Officer Peter Rau urged people to remember the heightened threat of fire danger during the summer months when people relax on holiday and let their guard down.

He warned illegal fireworks have the potential to start fires and cause serious damage to property, grass and bush land and most importantly threaten lives.

“We know Australia Day can be a time when people over indulge, and this can have potentially devastating effects on what should be an enjoyable day,” he said.

“Be safe around barbecues and don’t participate in or use illegal fireworks. People caught with illegal fireworks can face severe penalties including jail.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Jeff Maher from Victoria Police echoed Mr Wright’s comments, saying that there were some serious penalties for anyone found lighting fireworks illegally, however the ramifications can be far reaching.

“Fireworks can only be used by a licensed pyrotechnician. Anyone else who is caught selling or lighting fireworks can face penalties of up to $14,400 in fines.” Det Snr Sgt Maher said.

“However, if illegal fireworks start a fire the penalties can be much more serious. Fire resulting in death can lead to 25 years in jail, while a recklessly lit fire can result in 15 years jail and up to $34,000 in fines.

“Whilst at this time of year many people see the use of fireworks as harmless fun, possessing and using fireworks is irresponsible, illegal and dangerous.”

Victoria Police encouraged the community to celebrate Australia Day responsibly and to report any illegal sales or detonations of fireworks to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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