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For many of us, Memorial Day is never complete without a good outdoor barbeque. If you’re planning on grilling this holiday weekend, please take a little extra time to make sure you’re doing it safely, by following these tips.

· If you’re using a gas-fired grill, be aware that gas grills (as opposed to charcoal grills) are responsible for more than 80% of home grill fires around the country. According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills were involved in roughly 6,200 home fires annually from 2004-2008. The leading cause of grill-related fires was a gas leak or break in the gas hose.

· Clean your grill ahead of time, removing any fat buildups, etc. that might accidentally catch fire.

· Use propane and charcoal grills OUTSIDE ONLY. Grilling in any indoor or tent space is a fire as well as an asphixiation hazard.

· Make sure that kids and pets aren’t allowed anywhere near the grill. Set up physical boundaries if you have to.

· Make sure that branches, railings, etc. are kept at a distance from the grill.

· Use grilling tools with long handles.

· Never leave the grill unattended.

For gas grills:

· Store propane tanks outside, never in buildings or garages. If you store your gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.

· Before the first use every year, thoroughly check the hose for leaks. You can find a leak by rubbing soapy water all along the hose. Any gas leak will create bubbles, just like a leak in a bike tire.

· If you find a gas leak, follow these steps:

1. Immediately turn off the gas tank and grill.

2. If the bubbles stop, do not use the grill, and have it fixed professionally.

3. If the bubbles do not stop, dial 911 to call the fire department.

· If you ever smell gas while you’re cooking, step away from the grill immediately and dial 911.

For charcoal grills:

· If you plan to use starter fluid, add it before igniting. Use only fluid meant for charcoal.

· After you’re done with the grill, allow the coals to cool completely before disposal. Dispose of them in a metal receptacle.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

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