(WTAJ) — With Memorial Day and summer months approaching, people have begun to fire up their grill. With that said, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) wants to remind everyone of some basic safety tips.

The NFPA estimated that around 10,600 house fires involve grills, hibachis or barbecues per year. These fires resulted in an annual average of 10 deaths, 160 injuries and approximately $149 million in direct property damage.

Here are some safety tips and other facts to avoid becoming another statistic:

Safety tips

  • For propane grills, check the gas tank for leaks before use in the months ahead (Watch NFPA’s video on how to check for leaks)
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill
  • Place the grill well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area
  • If you use starter fluid when charcoal grilling, only use charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. When you have or are finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container
  • Never leave your grill unattended when in use

The peak months for grilling fires are July (18 percent), June (15 percent), May (13 percent) and August (12 percent), though the NFPA said grill fires occur year-round. An average of 19,700 people per year went to the ER because of injuries involving grills with more than half of them involving thermal burns. Children under five accounted for an average of 2,000, or 39 percent, of burns per year.

Leading causes of grill fires

  • Failing to clean the grill
  • Heat source being too close to combustible materials
  • Leaving equipment unattended
  • Leaks or breaks in the grill or fuel source

“As grilling season approaches, it is important to review basic safety tips especially if the grill hasn’t been used over the winter,” Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA, said. “Establishing a fire-safe location for using your grill is also crucial, to make sure it is a safe distance from your home and other items that can burn.”

Get the latest local news, weather, and community events. Sign up for the WTAJ Newsletter.

To learn more about safe grilling and other fire safety tips, visit the NFPA’s website at nfpa.org.