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Grilling Safety Tips for the Summer Season

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The long Memorial Day weekend is often seen as the unofficial start to summer and the beginning of grilling season. Even though you may be eager to get outside, experts warn it's important to remember a few safety tips.

Des Moines Fire Department Lieutenant Chris Clement said one of the most popular types of grills is an lp gas grill.

“Always use it outside. Never use it indoors. Because even if there is not a fire, all of those grills will produce carbon monoxide,” Clement said.

Before you start grilling, Clement said it’s a good idea to check for leaks in the gas system.

“Get just a spray bottle with some soapy water in it, pressurize the system by turning on the gas, and then spray everything from the gas valve to the burners to make sure you have no leaks in there,” he said.

Regardless of the type of grill, it needs to be away from the house, and if you live in an apartment it needs to be out from under any kind of overhang and away from balcony doors.

“You don’t want to have the grill next to the sliding door, where you’re left with the choice of running through the fire to get out or jumping off the balcony,” Clement said.

If you’re using a charcoal grill, it’s important to have the right tools.

“You want to make sure that you’re using a lighter fluid that’s made specifically for charcoal grills. Any other lighter fluid may be a lot hotter than you’re anticipating and you could get that fire right up in your face,” Clement said.

Jesse Jones grills at Water Works Park fairly often, and said the problem he runs into most of the time with a public grill is it’s never cleaned out.

“Usually I put the charcoal in and let it get warm, and then I go through the process of scraping the grill and cleaning it. I usually put aluminum foil down and then let it cook that way,” Jones said.

Clement said when you’re done using a charcoal grill, it’s important to make sure the coals have cooled completely, spray them with water, and dispose of them in a metal can. He also said recommended having a fire extinguisher handy.