Before firing up the grill this weekend, you might want to consider some of these tips.

According to the United States Fire Administration, approximately 5,700 grill fires take place on residential properties annually, most of which are caused by a malfunctioning gas grill. These fires also cause an average of $37 million in damage to properties, structures, and possessions and cause thousands of emergency room visits due to burns.

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“Grilling season is a great time to enjoy friends, family, food, and the outdoors, but accidents can happen,” said AAA Western and Central New York Vice President of Insurance Stacey McConnell. “Before you, barbecue, take a few minutes to review grilling safety tips and to ensure your equipment is working properly.”

AAA Western and Central New York offered the following tips to ensure safe barbequing:

  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Keep grills clean by removing grease and fat build-up
  • Never grill indoors or in confined areas
  • Read and follow the grills owner’s manual before use
  • Place grill at least 10 feet away from walls and deck railings and keep away from decorations
  • Never leave a lit grill unattended
  • If the flame on your grill goes out, turn the grill and gas off. Wait at least 15 minutes before relighting and always make sure your grill lid is open before igniting.

Also, if you are just pulling your grill out for the summer, consider taking these steps for proper maintenance and storage:

  • Check grill hoses for cracks, holes, and blockages
  • Run a soap solution, one part liquid soap, one part water, along with hoses and at connections. If the solution bubbles, this is a sign of a gas leak that needs repair
  • Store propane tanks outside and away from homes.