It’s no secret that I’m not much of a summer person (fall is more my thing), but one thing I do love about this time of year is breaking out the grill. It felt like we had to wait forever this year for the weather to warm up enough to grill (unless you're a die-hard grill in the snow type of person), didn't it?

If you're planning to fire up the grill this weekend, New York Propane Gas Association has a couple of tips to keep you and your family safe.

  • 1

    Ventilation Is SO Important

    Please, please, please always keep the grill lid open when you're lighting it and whatever you do, don't close it until you're sure the grill is completely lit. When grilling, keep your grill in a well-ventilated outdoor area and be sure that it's situated at least ten feet away from the house and also at least three feet away from trees and shrubs. Also, don't cover the bottom of the grill with foil because it can restrict air circulation.

  • 2

    General Safety

    Someone needs to stay at the grill at all times. You might be tempted to walk away to run inside the house to get a drink or a platter, but if you're going to do that, make sure someone is hanging out with your grill...just in case.

    If there are issues with your tank valve or with the grill, don't try to fix it yourself the appliance yourself. See a propane gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person. Also, when you first buy a grill, look for the model number and the manufacturer’s consumer inquiry phone number and write them on the front page of your manual and then tuck the manual in a safe place. You'll be thankful that you did!

    If you smell gas and you are able to, safely turn off the cylinder valve, do it by turning it to the right and then leave the area right away and call 911 or your local fire department.

  • 3

    Grill Safely

    You might think your propane grill could use a fire boost, but don't use starter fluid with propane grills- that spells disaster. Also, don't smoke while handling a propane cylinder, and keep all flammable materials away from the grill.

    If the grill doesn't ignite within ten seconds, turn off the gas, keep the lid open and wait five minutes before you try again to light the grill. If you try two or three times and get nothing, turn off the gas and replace the igniter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    Regularly check the tubes that lead into the burner because that's where bugs and grease like to hang out and clog things up, but remember- never attempt to repair, clean or clear blockages on a hot grill.

  • 4

    Safety for Kids

    The grilling area should be designated as a “No Play Zone” and you should keep kids and pets away from the grill and propane. If you're looking for a way to teach your kids about the dangers of the grill and why safety should be top of mind, the Propane Education and Research Council have launched an interactive website where kids can learn about grill and propane safety and you'll find it here.