Want to grill your brats without burning down the house? Here's some advice from Larry Langford of the Chicago Fire Department, Albert Zorn of City Wide Fire Protection Services and Tim Kerfin of Kerfin Inspections.
>> Get a grill mat to stop embers or grease from falling onto your porch and igniting treated wood. They cost about $20 on amazon.com.
>> Keep your grill at least 2 feet away from any wood rails or stairs.
>> Excessive lighter fluid can cause flames that can scorch or ignite wood above a grill, so keep fluids to a minimum.
>> Make sure your smoke detectors are in proper working order. A charcoal fire will cause a lot of smoke and can set off detectors even inside the building as a warning.
>> Always keep watch on your grill from the time you start it up until the embers are completely extinguished.