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When the warmer weather hits, there’s nothing better than breathing in the smell of sumptuous food on the grill. For everything from onions and sausage to juicy hamburgers, eggplant, and even pizza, grills, are a mainstay at most homes. In fact, three out of five households own a gas grill, which translates to a lot of tasty meals in the months ahead. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

America’s favorite grilling holidays are Fourth of July and Labor Day and food is often the main attraction. With lots of activity and people around though, it’s easy to become distracted while cooking. Each year an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. One of every six home structure fires involving grills started because something that could catch fire, like a dish towel, oven mitt, or food packaging, was too close to the heat.

This may sound scary, but preventing grill fires is not as hard as you think. All it takes is a little preplanning. By following a few simple summer safety precautions and guidelines, you can enjoy delicious grilled meals all season long. As you prepare to light up your grill, consider the following:

- Use propane and charcoal grills outdoors only.

- Place the grill well away from your home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

- Put safety rules for kids in place. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.

- Clean your grill often, removing any grease or fat buildup from the grates and in the trays below.

- Stay next to your grill at all times while cooking; never leave the area unattended .

 For more information and resources, check out NFPA's Cooking Fire Safety Central webpage and enjoy your next great grilled meal safely!

Martha Stewart.com

Posted 9:00 AM  View Comments

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