Gas is great, but use it safely

2016-09-29 06:00
PHOTO: candyce krishna Peter Lilliecrona is the gas guru on the South Coast. He shows the certificate every gas fitter must render after installation and a copy of the ‘South Coast Fever’ in 2004 where he was called to remove several gas cylinders after a fire at the Village Tavern.

PHOTO: candyce krishna Peter Lilliecrona is the gas guru on the South Coast. He shows the certificate every gas fitter must render after installation and a copy of the ‘South Coast Fever’ in 2004 where he was called to remove several gas cylinders after a fire at the Village Tavern.

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WHILE there are pros to cooking with gas, many do not pay attention to the safety regulations that go with it.

“Gas is reliable, efficient, versatile and safe if used correctly, and food also tastes much better,” said Peter Lilliecrona, an industrial gas practitioner on the South Coast.

Lilliecrona has been in the industry for 35 years and knows basically all there is to know about gas.

He is often called out to assess the aftermath of a fire and to establish whether the gas unit may have been the cause.

With regard to fitted units, he advises these be installed by a qualified and accredited company.

“If the installer cannot produce a safety certificate after the job is done, he is not accredited.

“Don’t try to save a few hundreds and opt for a handyman or plumber to do the job - it may cost you or your family­ their lives,” he said.

He also advises that every body who utilises the unit be educated about the rules on how the unit operates and on general gas safety rules.

After a unit is fitted, the installer has to explain how to operate it.

“But often, the homeowner isn’t the one using the stove or the oven. It’s the domestic worker or somebody else, but nobody explains to him or her how it’s supposed to work and what to do in certain scenarios.”

These days not everybody has a fitted gas stove at home. They opt for what is called a leisure unit, which is portable and can be used anywhere.

These units must have an oval with a blue tick printed on it. If not, it does not comply with the South African Standards (Sans).

“There’s a lot of Chinese brands on the market. Some are good and some are dangerous. It’s always best to purchase a unit that is Sans-approved.”

He said the small gas bottles do not come with a safety valve and that’s how these bottles have always been manufactured.

The larger bottles have a safety valve which open, close and vent, thus releasing pressure once it has built up.

“This valve saves lives.”

In 2004, he was called to the Village Tavern to remove gas cylinders after a fire broke. The flames spread quickly because of the thatched roof.

“So off I went at 2.30am to remove these gas cylinders. These cylinders had safety valves which I believe was the reason why I didn’t die that night. All I did was ask the firemen to spray water over me and the area so that I don’t catch alight and the cylinders were kept cool.”

Lilliecrona said each one of these stoves, whether it is fitted or for leisure, comes with a guidebook.

“Read it and familiarise yourself with these guidelines. Go to a gas supplier or expert, get pamphlets and information and educate yourself.”

“Gas should be utilised more in South Africa. Factories overseas make gas from compost heaps.

“This country has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to renewable energy.”

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