It may be cosy, but the outdoor gas heater you’re using to keep warm this winter could be a hazard unless it’s used properly.
The seasonal warning came from Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham today, just days before the official start of winter.
“Now that winter has finally turned up and temperatures are dropping, cafes, restaurants, and householders, are breaking out their portable gas heaters for outdoor dining,” he said.
“They do a great job and they’re entirely safe, just as long as both the heater and the LPG cylinder are used properly.
“That means only being operated outdoors or in well-ventilated areas, and being kept well away from any combustible material.
“Unfortunately, if used incorrectly these heaters can produce toxic carbon monoxide gas and expose people to possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas formed when fuels that contain carbon are burned in a poorly ventilated space – and it is a silent killer.
“Improper use and storage can also result in contact burns, fire or explosion causing serious injury and even death.”
Dr Lynham said five incidents involving portable outdoor gas heaters had been reported in Queensland since 2009, including one resulting in minor burns.
“Fortunately we haven’t seen the worst-case scenario play out in Queensland, however the death of two young boys in Victoria in 2010 due to a faulty gas heater causing a build-up of carbon monoxide in their home is a tragic reminder,” he said.
“I want to maintain Queensland’s safety record with these heaters and I’d encourage any business or householder to check my Department of Natural Resources and Mines’ safety information to ensure their heaters and cylinders are safe.”
Dr Lynham said departmental gas inspectors proactively checked gas appliances and systems which includes unannounced inspections of commercial premises including pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Visit www.qld.gov.au/emergency/safety/gas/gas-safety-videos.html for more information about the safe use and storage of portable gas appliances, including outdoor heaters.