EDITORIAL/On The Grill: Don't let fire spoil your good times

The first say of spring is just a couple of weeks away. And with the mild termperatures we know many are getting a jump on the season by firing up the barbecue grill.

There is nothing quite like the aroma and taste of freshly grilled steaks and chops, chicken, burgers and hot dogs. It's a great way to get family and friends together.

But wherever there is fire, there is danger. So care must be taken.

The U.S. Fire Administration has some useful tips to keep summer fun from becoming summer flames. From www.firesafety,gov Website.

- Keep grills at least 10 feet from siding and eaves.

- Never use a grill in a garage or carport.

- Before using a gas grill, check hoses and connections for leaks.

- Check that the venturi tubes-where gas and air mix-are not blocked.

- Never overfill a propane tank.

- Consumers should only use propane tanks that have a three-pronged valve: this is a sign that there is an overfill protection device in the tanks.

- When lighting a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add fluid after the fire is started.

- To dispose of hot coals, soak them with water and stir to make sure the fire is out.

- Never put coals in plastic, wood, or paper containers.

- Wear snug-fitting clothing when grilling.

- Barbecue grills caused about 900 home fires and 3,500 outdoor fires in 2002. Half of all grill-related home fires begin on a balcony or unenclosed porch.

- More U.S. fires are reported on the 4th of July than on any other day. Fireworks account for half of those fires.

Grilling is a tasty way to celebrate the spring. But making sure you grill safely will make the summer that much more fun.

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