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Keep these things in mind the next time you grill

Monday - 4/14/2014, 12:20pm  ET

grill safety (WTOP)

WASHINGTON -- Sizzling meat and charring veggies over open flames can be a tasty part of the summer experience. But barbecue grills are dangerous if not treated with proper respect.

"It's best to grill about 20 feet away from anything that can burn," says Pete Piringer, spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.

"You should never leave a grill or any kind of cooking unattended, not even for a minute," says Piringer.

Some safe grilling advice from Piringer includes the following:

  • Position grills away from anything flammable such as overhangs, deck railings, tree branches or shrubbery.
  • Position grills away from well-traveled areas where they could get bumped and turn over.
  • Keep away kids and pets.
  • Realize charcoal briquettes can smolder for longer periods of time and reignite easily.
  • Don't wear loose fitting clothes that can dangle over the grill and catch on fire.
  • Cool grill completely before recovering it.

Tips for safe use of gas grills include the following:

  • Always open a gas grill lid/hood before lighting it.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for checking the connection cylinder.
  • Check hoses for cracks and corrosion.
  • Have repairs done by a professional.
  • Always keep propane gas containers upright.
  • Regularly remove grease and debris buildup from trays below flames.

Whenever using any kind of grill, it should be positioned in a well-ventilated area on a flat, stable surface. Never use a grill in-doors or in a garage.

Cooking indoors also can be dangerous.

"Cooking is the leading cause of fires across the nation," says Piringer.

In fact, on Sunday there were four house fires in Montgomery County caused by cooking.

"Fortunately they were all small and only one person was hurt with a minor burn from touching a hot pan," says Piringer.

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