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Grilling is a summer tradition. Here are some safety pointers.

If you follow these tips, you can help ensure a safe and happy grilling season!

First things first. Know the law.

Make sure you know all, if any, regulations and rules regarding grilling – they differ from city, county, state, Home Owners Association. There may be limitations on what size and type of grill may be used, as well as where the grill can be placed during use.

Cooking with gas? Make sure you check for leaks.

Make sure no gas is leaking by rubbing a solution of dish soap and water on the hoses and connections. Turn on the gas with the grill lid open – DON’T LIGHT IT - and watch for bubbles, which indicate tiny holes in the hoses or too-loose connections.

Do it the right way. Light it right.

With a charcoal grill, go easy on the lighter fluid, and never add fluid to a fire or to coals that are already hot. Better yet, try an electric starter or a chimney starter. With a gas grill, always keep the lid open when lighting to prevent gas buildup. If a burner won't light, shut off the gas and wait five minutes for the gas to dissipate before trying again.

Be smart about where you use your grill.

Keep your grill, either charcoal or gas, at least 10 feet away from the house and out from under any wooden overhangs, tree branches or hanging decorations. Keep children and pets away, and don't leave it unattended. And, never, ever use a grill indoors.

A clean grill is a safe grill.

Grease and fat that collects in your grill builds up quickly and can be a major cause of dangerous flare-ups. Clean your grates after every use, and clean under the grates periodically as well.

Are you ready if a fire breaks out on the grill? Be prepared.

Keep a fire extinguisher close by and know how to use it. For small flare-ups, a spray bottle full of water may be useful, but baking soda is a better bet for a grease fire.

For more on barbecue safety, visit the websites of the National Fire Protection Association and the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.

Source: Safeco Insurance