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Can you believe it is Memorial Day Weekend? Here comes summer -- and THAT includes grilling! According to the
National Fire Protection Association, between 2007-2011, fire departments in the U.S. responded to an average of 8,800 outdoor fires caused by grills which resulted in an average of 10 deaths, 140 injuries, and $196 million in property damages.

Grilling on your back deck or patio is a tasty and relaxing way to spend summer evenings with your family and friends, but carelessness or faulty equipment can turn the experience into a nightmare.  Here are a few simple tips to help maintain a safe backyard grill.

1. Choose Your Location Wisely

It's critical to make sure your grill sits on a sturdy base and on level ground. Grill accidents commonly occur when a grill collapses or tips over while it's lit.

2. Check For Leaks

A key to grill safety is to be sure to check your gas grill hoses and regulators for leaks, blockages, and holes. Remember to LOOK, LISTEN, AND SMELL, before you ignite the grill. Propane gas has a noticeable scent, if it's too strong, shut off the valve and wait before trying again. You can also hear gas leaks. Never light the grill if you hear gas escaping from the hose or regulator.

3. Stay Away From The House

Just because you store the grill next to the house doesn't mean you should grill there. Many house fires start because grills are too close to wood siding or other flammable objects. Move the grill at least 10 feet away from flammable structures and use a grill mat if grilling on a wooden deck. This is especially important to remember on windy days.

4. Keep The Coals Outside

After grilling, never move your charcoal grill inside if it still contains used coals. Smoldering coals can burn for hours even if you think you've extinguished them. The best practice is to thoroughly extinguish the coals and then remove them from the grill before moving or storing it between uses.

5. Extinguish the Flame

The correct way to extinguish a charcoal grill fire is to spread out the smoldering embers and then cover with a lid to starve the flame of oxygen...then wait. Never dump hot coals on the ground or near flammable materials and never spray hot coals with water. This creates dangerous steam, smoke, and can spread hot embers.

With these tips in mind, you can safely grill and enjoy your weekend to the fullest. Happy Memorial Day - BE SAFE!!

Posted 9:00 AM  View Comments

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