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By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

August 1, 2014 (San Diego's East County) July, August and right into Labor Day, we use our barbeques more than any other months.

Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna, East County Magazine’s in-house fire chief and columnist,  says that firefighters respond to many structure and wild-land fires that involve barbeques this time of year.

He adds, “We also treat many victims for injuries related to barbeques. Barbeque Safety means sending the right smoke signal--and that signal is Safety!”

While gas grills contribute to a higher number of home fires than their charcoal counterparts, all grills pose a risk for fires and burns. Grills should be placed well away from the home and decks, far from under the eaves or overhanging branches and vegetation.

Other grilling safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association are:

Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.

Keep children and pets at least three feet 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. Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before igniting it.

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill. If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 15 minutes before relighting it.

When using a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add any other flammable liquids to the fire. Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources. When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container.

Use common sense and grill safely!