Fire department offers grilling safety tips ahead of holiday weekend

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The first long weekend of the summer is here. For a lot of people, that means hosting barbecues for family and friends.
But with grilling hopefully comes the right safety measures.

The Rapid City Fire Department responds to grill and cooking fires throughout the summer because grills aren't maintained properly.
Fire officials say one of the first things you're going to want to do before you flip burgers this weekend, make sure your grill is clean.
Location of your grill is also important, avoid the walls of the house, deck railing, and any over-hanging branches.
But sometimes, these fires can be started from the people running the grill, not because it isn't clean.

Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department says, "Unattended cooking fires, whether they're in the kitchen or grilling -- are key contributors to fires when you're cooking. So pay attention to what you're grilling. Don't leave it unattended."

And different kinds of grills require different precautions.
If you use a propane grill, check for any gas leaks. But if you have a charcoal grill, make sure you're using the proper starter fluid.
Bussell says in case of a blaze, have a fire extinguisher handy and be ready to call 911.
He also suggests keeping the fire danger in mind when grilling on a hot, summer day.