Know how to put out a camp or barbecue fire this Christmas

HOLIDAY-MAKERS are being urged to put fire safety first over the Christmas break, to help ensure all Queenslanders enjoy a safe holiday season.

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Jack Dempsey said it was important for people to follow a number of safety precautions when extinguishing a campfire or using a barbecue.

"The simple message is: a campfire should only ever be extinguished with water and never with dirt or sand," Mr Dempsey said.

"Many people don't realise that a fire covered with dirt or sand can hold more than 100 degrees of heat for up to 24 hours after it has been extinguished whereas a fire extinguished with water holds almost no heat just 10 minutes later.

"Just one second of body contact with material heated up to 70 degrees can inflict serious and devastating burns."

Mr Dempsey said the Newman Government wanted to ensure every Queenslander remained safe this Christmas period and not take unnecessary trips to hospital because a campfire had been incorrectly extinguished.

"We promised at the election to revitalise frontline services and safety messages like this are an important part of ensuring our emergency services are used most effectively," he said.

"Emergency crews do a great job but it's preferable if they never have to be called to preventable incidents.

"Under the previous Labor Government, mountains of paperwork meant firefighters were often tied to the desk instead of out on the frontline.

"In the past 18 months, the Newman Government has worked to streamline processes to ensure firefighters are out doing what they do best, keeping Queensland communities safe."

National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing Minister Steven Dickson urged all Queenslanders to be vigilant about how they put out a campfire, especially in a National Park.

"Children can walk into the embers and burn their feet, resulting in long-term disability and scarring. Many children are burned the morning after a fire is lit," Mr Dickson said.

"This summer we're working with Kidsafe to ensure appropriate signage is placed in all our popular parks, to help protect our kids from accidents. 

"Remember, just a few glowing embers can start a wildfire, which can devastate lives and property in the upcoming hot summer months.

"Under the Recreation Areas Management Act, there are restrictions on lighting open fires in recreation areas.

"For example, in Great Sandy (Fraser Island and Cooloola) and Bribie Island recreation areas, lighting open fires is restricted to fire rings and other types of fireplaces.

"In our recreation management areas, it's an offence to leave a fire unattended or to fail to extinguish a fire before leaving it."

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said it was important to seek treatment if burns do occur, particularly in children.

"Unfortunately at this time of year the Queensland Ambulance Service and our emergency departments see far too many of these types of incidents," Mr Springborg said.

"Burns can have devastating effects so it is really important to get the right treatment as quickly as possible."

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Lee Johnson said it was also important for people to test gas cylinders and barbecue hoses and valves before use.

"When firing up the traditional Aussie barbecue over the summer break, we're asking people to remember they are working with gas and fire, which are potentially hazardous and dangerous," Mr Johnson said.

"Exercise caution and avoid using accelerants such as petrol or flammable liquids when lighting up. Also be aware of the effect rising heat can have on the roof above.

"By taking the time to check your barbecue and set it up in an appropriate location, you can avoid a Christmas barbeque lunch going horribly wrong." 

Some tips for fire safety during the school holiday period include:

  • Don't light or maintain a fire during a total fire ban or a QPWS-imposed fire prohibition
  • Check weather conditions in the area before lighting a fire. Don't light up on dry, windy days
  • Ensure your campfire is at least 3m away from tents. Store other equipment, especially flammable items, well away from the fire
  • Completely extinguish all fires with water before you go to bed or leave the camp site unattended

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