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10 Tips to Avoid Fires, Injuries While Barbecuing

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Every year, 7,000 Americans are injured while using backyard barbecue grills.  It's usually a case of good products used incorrectly.

ABC News teamed up with Underwriters Laboratories, the non-profit company that puts the UL mark on products it has tested for safety, to highlight the most common mistakes and key safety tips.  Here are the top 10:


1. Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house.  Farther is even better.  This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages, and porches.

2. Clean your grill regularly.  If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they provide more fuel for a fire.

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.

4. Keep decorations away from your grill.  Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas 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.  That way, if you have a minor flare-up you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it.

6. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill.


7. Turn on the gas while your grill lid is closed.  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.

8. Leave a grill unattended.  Fires double in size every minute.

9. Overload your grill with food.  This applies especially to fatty meats.  If too much fat drips on the flames at once, it can cause a large flare-up that could light nearby things on fire.

10. Use a grill indoors.  In addition to the 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.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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