ACT: Ethanol burner safety warning

Published: 
28 Oct 2014

Consumers need to be aware of the risks associated with ethanol burners following a concerning trend of serious burns incidents across Australia, Attorney­-General, Simon Corbell, said today.

“Although most suppliers provide some warning about the safe use of ethanol burners, the warnings are not always clear or consistent and many people are unaware of the risks,” Mr Corbell said.

Ethanol burners may be fireplaces or decorative burners used for indoor or outdoor heating or display lighting. They often do not require specialist installation and may be priced from as little as $30. Where safety instructions are supplied, they may understate the dangers associated with the product.

“Ethanol is a very volatile substance and the flame itself is not easily recognised. As a result, incidents have occurred interstate when consumers try to refill the fuel while the burner is still lit or very warm,” Mr Corbell said.

“Consumers need to be aware of these risks as ethanol burners have been involved in a number of fires in NSW and Queensland, which have caused serious injuries.”

Refuelling is usually done via the same opening as the burner, which creates a risk of the refuelling bottle exploding if the burner is still burning or smouldering. This appears to be how most of the injuries interstate have occurred.

“ACT Fire and Rescue have no information suggesting ethanol burners have caused fires or injuries in the ACT to date,” Mr Corbell said.

“However, if not used and maintained carefully, these products can cause serious burn injuries. The majority of injuries which have occurred interstate have required hospitalisation.

“I strongly encourage consumers who have purchased an ethanol burner or are considering purchasing one, to be alert to the risks so they can enjoy these products safely,” Mr Corbell said.

Contact details

Media contact: Andrew Benson
(02) 6205 0434 (w)
0481 004 015 (m)
andrew.benson@act.gov.au