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      How to safely grill this summer season

      Each season has its symbol and one of the biggest signs of summer is a smoking grill, but with grilling season also comes some danger. Local fire officials say now that many residents are cracking open their long-lost appliance, there are many safety tips you should follow from preparation to clean up no matter what type of grill you're using.

      If you're using any type of propane tank, officials say never leave the lid closed while you're waiting to light it because once you do, that gas is going to move towards your face and may cause serious bodily harm.

      If you're using charcoal and don't have a self-igniting grill, one of the biggest hazards comes from trying to get the fire started.

      "Just make sure that you use approved charcoal lighter fluid because it's not as flammable, it's still flammable but it's not as flammable as if you used gasoline or kerosene," said Captain Bobby Spencer with the Lee County Fire Department.

      Once the grill is going, firefighters say never walk away because it only takes a split second for an accident to happen.

      "Make sure pets and kids are out of the area or at least watch because they want to play around and may knock it over, which could hurt them or cause a fire," said Captain Kenny Loudenbarger with the Albany Fire Department.

      After the meal is served, safely cut off any propane tank or pour water on the charcoal before removing it. Officials say one of the biggest no-no's in the world of grilling is to throw the hot coals away too early.

      "We do go to a lot of dumpster fires where people have been grilling, think that they've cooled off enough, they put them into a dumpster and we're called to a fire there, said Captain Loudenbarger.

      Fire officials say there's a thin line between grilling season and hospital season, so use precaution and common sense to ensure no one takes a trip to the burn unit this summer.