Every year, the arrival of summer marks the unofficial beginning of grilling season. Millions of Americans wipe the dust off of the grill in eager anticipation. And who can blame them? A grill makes almost any type of food taste incredible. Whether its burgersvegetables, or even desserts, nothing beats the smell of freshly grilled fare. Plus, grilling is as central to summer holidays, like July 4 and Labor Day, as any parade or fireworks.

8 Tips for Grilling Safely (Slideshow)

However, that doesnt mean that grilling is necessarily safe. In firing up the grill, users from grill-masters to rookies trying out new tricks  are literally playing with fire. Roughly 8,800 home fires are started by grilling accidents each year, and everyone knows that the quickest way to turn your BBQ blowout into a BBQ blowup is to accidentally light your house on fire. Not only that, but youll end up in the emergency room, longingly looking into the bright blue sky and trying to taste that spare rib and beer that wouldve awaited you at home, if only you hadnt been so foolish.

 Thats why weve decided to compile a list of eight safety tips for all those grill masters out there. Whether youre working with propane, charcoal, or even campfires, there are certain things you can do to reduce the risk of fire. Because lets face it, youre there to cook burgers, not your house. 

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1. Set Up Your Grill

When youre preparing to kick off your big summer party, make sure that your space is properly set up. Make sure to get the grill on a flat surfaceyou dont want that Weber rolling away. Also, break out the grill brush and clean your grill of any leftover grease that could cause a blowup.

2. Prepare for Lighting

Once youve got the grill itself in working order, its time to move on to the area around you. If youre using propane, check the hose for leaks by soaking it in soap and water. Bubbles will form where gas leaks exist. Its also important to clear the area of any hazards, material or human. Clear away any flammable items from around your grill to create some space. Humansbe they small children or over-zealous revelers should also be kept away from the grill; some sort of safety zone is the best way to accomplish that.

3.  Be the Grill-Master

Now that your station is set up, its time to become the grill-master. The most important part of this is to never leave your grill alone. Leave that fire unattended long enough, and itll grow until you notice it. Also make sure to remove any loose clothing that could burn, and use long-handled grilling utensils at all times theyre way safer, and are a central part to the grill-master image youre trying to give off.

4. Cooking With Propane

Three in five Americans own gas grills, so if youre in that 60 percent, make sure to follow these pointers. When youre lighting your grill, make sure to keep the lid open; the extra oxygen helps get your fire started and decreases the chances of a gassy fireball exploding into you. You can decrease those chances further by not leaning over the flames as you cook. Then, when its all said and done and youve polished off that breakfast food (because why not make steak and eggs on the grill?), let the grill cool before putting any sort of cover on it. 

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