IL Fire Marshal offers tips for safe grilling

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois State Fire Marshal is offering some outdoor cooking safety tips as the weather heats up.

Fire officials warn to use grills in outdoor areas only, at least 10 feet from buildings and deck railings. Also be sure to steer clear of hanging tree branches.

Never leave a grill unattended. If you're using a gas grill, make sure to check all hoses for leaks before using them.

Gas and other flammable liquids should never be used to get a fire going, and long-handled utensils are best for flipping food.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills were involved in 6,400 home fires from 2003 to 2006. Charcoal grills were blamed for 1,300 fires. And burns caused by grills sent about 9,600 people to emergency rooms in 2007.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.