CFA and The Alfred are urging Victorians to be fire safe and reduce burn-related injuries across the state this long weekend.
CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington said with people out and about following the easing of some Covid-19 restrictions, and winter also kicking in, there would be a seasonal increase in recreational fires.
“With restrictions easing, we understand many people want to get together this long weekend and have a barbecue, or sit round a fire pit at night,” he said.
“What I’d ask all Victorians to do is just be aware of the dangers open fires or barbecues can cause – even in winter.
“It sounds obvious, but please don’t use petrol or other liquid fuel as an accelerant. Every year we attend incidents like these, and believe me, they cause significant, lasting injuries to those involved, not just property damage.
“Please supervise your kids around all fires and make sure fires are extinguished before going to bed. Together we can make our Queen’s Birthday long weekend a safe one.”
Heather Cleland, Director of the Victorian Adult Burns Service at The Alfred, said a recent study showed nearly 20 per cent of burns admissions related to accelerant use.
“A large portion of these burns, about 31 per cent, occurred during a leisure activity. And these are serious injuries. Surgery is required in 70 per cent of cases. And tragically, seven per cent of cases were fatal,” Miss Cleland said.
The study showed most at risk were young men in rural communities, aged 20 to 29.
Both The Alfred and CFA pleaded with this group to be very careful around open fires, and not use accelerants.
“We’re not saying don’t have an open fire with your mates, just do it safely. Don’t use petrol, make sure you’re able to easily extinguish the fire at the end of the night, be a bit responsible for your friends,” Mr Warrington said.
“Otherwise you might find yourself carrying around the scars of one night’s fun for the rest of your life.”