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Keep Your Backyard BBQs Safe This Summer

With the weather warming up and more families spending lots of time at home, the backyard grill is sure to get a lot of use in the coming months. Here are a few simple tips for those with charcoal or propane grills to keep in mind before you get cooking.

Overall safety tips

- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.

- Keep your grill away from the house at all times - we recommend a minimum of 10 feet - some people move the grill under the eaves or into the garage if it's raining - that is a bad idea!

- Keep your grill away from deck railings and overhanging branches as well.

- Keep children and pets at leasts three feet away from the grill area.

- Remove grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill before you begin grilling.

- Never leave your grill unattended.

Charcoal grilling reminders

- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.

- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.

- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources - including the grill!

- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use. (And keep the cord out of the way so it can't be tripped over.)

- When you're done with grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container.

Propane grilling reminders

- Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. To do this, apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you detect a gas leak either by smell or the soap test, get your grill serviced by a professional before using it again.

- If you ever smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

- If the flame goes out while cooking, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before trying to re-light it.

- Always turn the grill off once you're done with cooking.