As Memorial Day kicks off the summer season and grill masters begin to man their backyard barbeques, Banner Health safety experts are providing some tips to make the summer grilling season a safe one.

Every year, there is an average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues, and almost half of all grilling injuries involve thermal burns, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Staying safe while grilling involves taking some easy preventive measures including picking a good spot for the grill, checking the equipment and properly storing propane tanks, says Melissa Luxton, Injury Prevention coordinator at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix.

Luxton offers these tips:

• Get your backyard ready for grilling: “Choosing a spot that it is quiet, free from where pets and kids may go, can really help,’’ she says.

Keep it clean: “When grilling you always want to stay safe, so remove that grease and fat build-up from both the grill and the tray below.’’

Be prepared: “Anytime you are cooking, whether it is on the stove or at the grill, it is really great to have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.’’

Safety with gas grills: Three out of five people own a gas grill, according to the National Fire Protection Association so familiarity with a gas grill is important. Luxton advises making sure all equipment is in working order. “Check those hoses underneath. Look for any cracks or bubbles in that tubing and if anything looks like it needs to be replaced or repaired, you may want to refrain from using that grill.’’

Proper propane storage: “You always want to make sure they are being stored upright and you don’t want to store them underneath or near the grill,’’ Luxton says. “You also don’t want to store those type of tanks indoors and never, ever in a trunk of a car.’’

Charcoal-grill safety: “When using a charcoal grill, it is important that you only use charcoal fluid. If you have a problem lighting that fire and you have used starter fluid, you want to refrain from using additional charcoal starter fluid or any other flammable liquid.’’