Memorial Day is only a week away and with that comes the unofficial start of summer and the grilling season. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five households own a gas grill. Each year, more than 8,000 home fires are caused by grilling and more than 10,000 people are sent to the hospital because of injuries involving grills.

Since thousands of New Yorkers are getting ready to grill, we thought it would be a good time to review a few grilling safety tips with the help from the New York Propane Gas Association and the National Fire Protection Association.

If you have children, or children will be visiting your home this holiday weekend, the grilling area should be designated as a “No Play Zone,” keeping kids and pets away from the equipment. Plus, it's always a good idea to have one person in charge of the fire at all times and never leave a hot grill unattended.

Before you even light the grill, make sure it is in a well-ventilated outdoor area, at least ten feet away from the house, and at least three feet away from trees and shrubs. When lighting the grill, always keep the lid open.  Don't close it until you are sure the grill is lit. If the grill does not ignite within ten seconds, turn off the gas, keep the lid open and wait five minutes before trying again.

This should be common sense, but never use matches or lighters to check for leaks, don't use starter fluid with propane grills, and keep all flammable materials away from the grill. In addition, never cover the bottom of the grill with foil, it can restrict air circulation.

Here's to a fun and safe Memorial Day Weekend. Happy safe grilling!