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Summer is almost in full swing which means many of us will be firing up the grill for the first time this year. It is important to remember the needed precautions of outdoor grilling to ensure a safe and delicious result! As July is the peak month for grill fires according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), let’s go over a few important grilling facts and safety tips.

Here are some important tips to remember when preparing for your next cookout.

1. Check the gas hose for leaks, this can easily be done by applying some soapy water to the hose; if you see any bubbles be sure to turn off the propane and replace the hose. If cooking with charcoal, use a lighter fluid designed for grilling.
2. Keep the grill far away enough from your home or any structure to prevent the heat melting vinyl siding or worst case catch fire. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission states to place the grill at least 10 feet away from a house or building. Also keep away from deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
3. Clean the grill thoroughly before use. Operate on a level surface and never move once the grill is lit.
4. Make sure the gas grill lid is open before turning on the propane and lighting it.
5. If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 15 minutes before re-lighting it.
6. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from your grill and call the fire department.
7. Never leave the grill unattended.
8. Don’t overload your grill with food (especially fatty meats); fat drips can cause large flames which may light nearby things on fire.
9. Have an extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.
10. If using charcoal, soak charcoal bricks with water after use to ensure they are extinguished. Once cool, dispose of in a metal container.

Remember to stay safe and happy grilling!