(WETM) – The coming Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to fire up your grill for the summer, but fires of any size bring with them the risk of injury. The Firefighters Association of the State of New York is reminding grillers to be mindful of the dangers this weekend.

“Keep an eye on your grill, your kids, and stay aware of your surroundings ,” said FASNY President John P. Farrell,  “We are here to help – no matter how big or small an incident seems. Don’t hesitate to call your local fire department because a few minutes can make a big difference.” 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) said that almost 20,000 people go to the hospital each year with grill-related injuries, and almost half of those are burns. Grills also account for almost 9,000 house fires, almost 4,000 structure fires, and almost 5,000 outdoor fires each year, according to the NFPA.

Children under five years old account for about 2,000 of those burn injuries each year, FASNY said. These usually include bumping into or touching hot parts of the grill.

FASNY and the NFPA provided the following tips to everyone getting ready for the holiday barbeque this weekend:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.