A love of al fresco dining brings explosion risk
THE popularity of outdoor al fresco dining areas is making experts nervous, as over-confident hands risk a gas explosion if they start playing with pipelines without paying a tradie.
The use of "inbuilt BBQs" - fast becoming a staple of the humble back deck - has been enough for Queensland's gas inspectors to dispatch a warning.
Queensland's firefighters worry that while plenty of these do-it-yourself outdoor kitchens can be safely built by amateurs, instructions must be exactly followed.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Inspector David Sutch said while there has not been a "spike" in these type of fires, the risks were there.
He said people could leave a hardware store with a stack of boxes, ready to create an outdoor kitchen.
"We don't see there is a significant risk provided people follow the manufacturer's instructions to a tee," Insp Sutch said.
He said while it might be fine to screw a gas hose to a gas bottle from the hardware or camping store, plumbing it into the home gas lines must be done by an expert.
"It's probably comparable to jumping into the ceiling and deciding to cut another wire into your electrics system."
Due to endless tutorials on how to do complicated around-the-house fixes, Insp Sutch said some novices might feel confident enough to give it a crack.
But it only takes a leak, a loose connection and a spark to create a tragedy.
Insp Sutch said for those who want the outdoor kitchen, it is worth paying for safety.
"For your own and your family's safety, put your dollars into hiring a professional and making sure it is safe," he said.
"It needs to be done properly by a professional or by following the manufacturer's instructions."
FACTBOX - WHAT TO DO IF YOU SMELL GAS
-Shut off the gas to appliance, extinguish flames.
-Do not use any potential ignition source, ie: phones, cameras, lights.
-Ventilate the area.
-If you continue to smell gas, contact fire department or gas supplier/installer.