As the nation celebrates Independence Day, the Illinois State Fire Marshal is reminding residents to make grilling a fire safe activity. Outdoor cooks should take steps to ensure all parts of their grill are functioning properly before use. In Illinois, nearly 170 fires related to outdoor cooking with grills or hibachis were reported during the last two years. The Office of the State Fire Marshal offers some tips on grilling safety. Only use grills outdoors and place the grill a safe distance from buildings and play areas. Never leave a grill unattended. Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles. For more information about grilling safety, visit the fire marshal’s website at www.sfm.illinois.gov or www.nfpa.org/grilling.