Cases of gas bottle and BBQ explosions soar in December and January.
Cases of gas bottle and BBQ explosions soar in December and January. Cathy Adams

Gas bottle and BBQ explosion cases set to soar

SUNCORP is expecting more than 250 claims for barbecue fires or explosions over the summer holiday period, prompting warnings to take extra precautions.

The insurance giant revealed there was normally an 80% increase in fires and theft claims in December.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of all claims in 2016 relating to electrical faults, barbecue fires or explosions, and holiday theft, occurred during December or January, Suncorp reported.

The warning comes after the shocking case of a gas explosion at Lismore Turf Club last week.

Suncorp spokesperson, Michael Mills, said it was critical for families, embracing the seasonal festivities, to be mindful of the potential safety risks.

"The holiday season is a great time of year to relax with family and friends, but it's important not to get swept up
in the holiday cheer and overlook potential safety hazards," Mr Mills said.

"Electrical faults are a key contributor to home fires, especially now when air-conditioning units are on overdrive
in summer and families are decorating their homes with Christmas lights.

"It's important to ensure any electrical decorations and lights are in good working order and are installedcorrectly - especially after being stored away for the past 11 months.

Alistair Brightman

"Lights generate heat, so don't leave them near flammable items like wrapping paper and never use indoor
lights outside."

Last year alone, Suncorp received more than 260 claims relating to barbecue fires or explosions, 20 per cent of
which occurred in December or January.

"A family barbecue is a quintessential summer tradition, but it's important not to become complacent and follow
safety precautions like checking the gas bottle for leaks and not leaving it unattended," Mr Mills said.

"We also see a significant increase in claims relating to theft at this time of year, with claims doubling in

Top tips for the Christmas enthusiast

• Check all your lights and electrical decorations before switching them on - 11 months is a long time to be in

• Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and use Australian Standards-compliant Christmas lights.

• While they look lovely, always remember to turn them off before going to bed or leaving the house.

Top tips for BBQ safety

• Check the hose and nozzle of the barbecue and make sure it's not leaking. If you're not sure, spray it with
soapy water. If it bubbles when you turn the nozzle on, it's leaking.

• Avoid leaving the gas on for too long before igniting and do not leave your cooking unattended.

• Buy a fire blanket and fire extinguisher, and have them easily accessible from your kitchen and barbecue

• Do not put water on a fat fire. Water can rapidly spread the fire and lead to serious injuries and property

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