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Some dos and don'ts for your backyard barbeques this summer

Remember, when you fire up the barbeque, there are some definite dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

Every year, 7,000 Americans are injured while using backyard barbeque grills. It's usually a case of good products used incorrectly. With that in mind, we’ve assembled this list of dos and don’ts to help assure you never join that list.

Do:

1. Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house. If you can, even further away is better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should never be used underneath wooden overhangs as the fire could flare up into the structure above. We’ve also seen claims where “We didn’t want to barbeque in the rain so we moved the pit into the garage with the door open.” That’s a very bad idea and applies to both charcoal and gas grills!

2. Clean your grill regularly. If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare ups and most times, you’re not prepared for those.

3. Check for gas leaks. You can make sure no gas is leaking from your gas grill by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that's a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough. This is a great idea to do at the beginning of every grilling season – and checking again from time to time throughout the year.

4. Keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas may look pretty, but they also provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today's decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.

5. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. If you ever have a minor flare-up, you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won't harm your food, so your meal won't be ruined!

6. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill. And KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don't waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job.

Don't:

1. Turn on the gas while your grill lid is closed. NEVER do this. It causes gas to build up inside your grill, and when you do light it and open it, a fireball can explode in your face.

2. Leave a grill unattended. Fires double in size every minute. Plan ahead so that all of your other food prep chores are done and you can focus on grilling. If you do have to attend to something else, have someone ready to monitor what’s going on and make sure they know what they’re doing!

3. Overload your grill with food. This applies especially to fatty meats. The basic reason for this tip is that if too much fat drips on the flames at once, it can cause a large flare-up that could light nearby things on fire.

4. Use a grill indoors. People often think it will be safe to use a grill, especially a small one, indoors. This is never a smart idea!  In addition to being a fire hazard, grills release carbon monoxide, the deadly colorless, odorless gas. That gas needs to vent in fresh air or it can kill you, your family and pets.