Grilling safety tips for holiday weekend BBQs

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Lots of folks will be firing up those backyard grills on this holiday weekend. But there are some important safety tips to keep in mind.

The first piece of advice from the experts? Make sure the grill is in a safe place. "You want to keep it a good 10, 15 feet away from the structure," says Phoenix Fire Captain Ruben Saavedra.

Also make sure when you open the grill you don't smell any leaks.

"Make sure that tank is intact," he continues. "We don't want to have an incident when this could possibly blow up in your face."

Here are more grilling safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

-Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
-The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves
-Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
-Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
-Never leave your grill unattended.

Charcoal grills

-There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
-If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
-Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
-There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
-When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Propane grills

Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.