Reports in the news earlier this month of a St Kilda man injured in his apartment by an exploding LPG bottle has reinforced reminders for increased safety awareness for everyone living in strata communities.
This is in addition to increased awareness by strata communities all over Australia who are looking at ways to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires in light of the tragic Grenfell Tower inferno that occurred earlier this year in London.
While external building cladding has been on the top of list for legislators and insurers, there are other things strata communities can do to reduce risk of a towering inferno.
Effective fire risk management is not just the responsibility of individual lots owners and tenants.
Each body corporate/owners corporation has a collective responsibility for the safe storage of all hazardous material used in common areas such as gas for communal barbecues or chemicals for the swimming pool.
Leading gas supplier, Elgas has recommended tips for safe storage of LPG cylinders:
- Cylinders used for household purposes must not be filled with automotive LPG (Autogas).
- Never use LPG indoors or in a confined space.
- Do not connect or disconnect cylinders in the vicinity of a naked flame.
- Do not use LPG in windy conditions i.e. more than 10km per hour.
- Do not use undue force to open or close the main cylinder valve. If in doubt, consult the supplier.
- Shut off the cylinder valve before disconnecting the bottle from the BBQ.
- Always keep cool and away from flames, sparks and heat.
- Cylinders should be stored outside in a well ventilated area, be carried and stored upright at all times.
- Do not store or use petrol, flammable liquids or aerosols near LPG cylinders.
- Ensure valves are turned off firmly when not in use.
As part of a strata community’s duty of care, SSKB recommends making safety a priority by having an annual independent safety audit by a qualified third party such as Star BMS. These inspections and report identify risks at your building and advise how they might be controlled.