Summer is officially among us. Time to enjoy family vacations, weekends at the beach, afternoon swims in the pool, summer camps and outdoor barbeques! In preparation for 4th of July cookouts next week, I thought it would be a good time to share some grilling safety tips published by the National Fire Prevention Agency to protect you and your homes from fire damage.

• Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors and should be placed away from your home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches
• Children and pets should be at least three feet away from the grill area
• Remove grease and fat buildup from your grill and the trays below
• Never leave your grill unattended
• Once your charcoal fire has been started, do not add charcoal fluid or other flammable liquids to the fire
• Dispose of coals in a metal container after the coals have cooled completely
• Check your gas tank hose on propane grills for leaks before using for the first time each year
• If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from your grill and call the fire department

July is the peak month for grill fires and more than half of structure fires caused by the grill begin on either a courtyard terrace or patio or an exterior balcony or open porch. PHC Restoration hopes everyone has fun grilling out this summer and hopes that these simple tips so you will be on the way to safe grilling.