top of page

Are you aware of the dangers of decorative alcohol fuelled devices?

Have you or a friend/family member received an decorative alcohol fuelled device as gift this Christmas or already have one around the house?

Decorative alcohol fuelled devices have caused more than 100 injuries and at least 36 house fires across Australia since 2010. There have also been at least three deaths that occurred overseas.

Table top burners which are designed to sit on a table are most commonly involved in these incidents because:

  • the fuel-filling point is also where the flame is lit thereby increasing the risk of a flash flame and the fuel bottle to explode

  • the devices typically have a short burn time due to their limited fuel capacity. This means frequent refilling during a single use which may lead to refilling while it is burning or hot

  • the devices are less stable so are more likely to be knocked over especially by children or pets, potentially causing serious burns and damage to property.

The below video graphically illustrates what will occur if the device is refuelled using the same opening as the burner when it is still lit or warm.

Please consider these important safety points if you are going to use or purchase a decorative alcohol fuelled device.

Device requirements

If you are purchasing one of these devices make sure you confirm with the retailer that the decorative alcohol fuelled device you wish to purchase complies with the mandatory safety standard.

Devices must comply with the following requirements:

  1. be a permanent fixture or have a dry weight of at least 8 kilograms and a footprint of at least 900 square centimetres

  2. meet the stability test set out in the European standard

  3. come with a fuel container with a flame arrester or an automatic fuel pump system

  4. have the prescribed warning.

Safe use

If you already have a table top decorative alcohol fuelled device you should stop using it. Take extreme care when refuelling fixed or freestanding devices. Only use a fuel container with a flame arrester or an automatic fuel pump, and follow the safety instructions.

Fuelling & refuelling

  • Extinguish flames completely and check the device is cool before refilling. This will prevent fuel exploding and causing severe burns or property damage.

  • Remove the fuel tank from the device before refilling.

  • Only use the recommended fuel for the device. When refilling only use containers with a flame arrester or use an automatic fuel pump. Be aware that flames can be difficult to see, particularly under sunlight or in bright environments. This can lead you to think that the flame has gone out.

  • Clean up spills immediately, as pooled vapours may explode when the device is relit.

Lighting the device

Use the lighting tool that comes with the device as it should be long enough to safely light the fuel tank. Alternatively, use a BBQ lighter (or similar device) to remain at a safe distance when lighting the flame. Lighting the fuel tank with matches or cigarette lighters may burn your skin or clothing.

Extinguishing the device

Use the extinguishing tool that comes with the device. Make sure you extinguish all flames when leaving the room and before going to sleep. Never extinguish the flame with water as this may cause the flames to spread.

In case of fire – what to do

Use a powder extinguisher or a fire blanket to smother the fire. If you do not have one, use dirt or sand instead. If you cannot control the fire, move away from it and contact your fire emergency service by dialling 000.

Single post: Blog_Single_Post_Widget
bottom of page