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Consumer alert: Avoid gas grill dangers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's grilling season, but before you fire your grill up, consider safety.

Research shows more than 16,000 people ended up in the emergency room in 2014 due to injuries involving grills.

Experts say people should be especially careful when grilling with gas.

This hit close to home for the WREG family recently.

WREG Chief Meteorologist Tim Simpson snapped a picture of hamburgers and hot dogs he was grilling just before an incident he says led him to a decision to never use the grill again.

"I'm just leaning over the grill, I mean like...kaboom and I go flying back, my nose was bleeding, I had some hearing loss in my left ear."

Tim says the sound was so loud, his family came running outside.

"Imagine a shotgun blast. It was like someone had fired a shotgun at my face."

The good news is Tim didn't suffer a serious injury.

"I count my blessings that I was not burned."

It could have been worse. WREG once captured video of a gas grill fire in Cordova.

The grill was charred and engulfed from top to bottom.

Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association show gas grills contribute to more fires than their charcoal counterparts.

Failure to clean, along with leaks and breaks, pose the biggest problems.

Chief Jody Dwyer is the fire marshal for the Germantown Fire Department.

He told WREG, "There are 16,000 burns reported each year due to grills."

Chief Dwyer gave News Channel 3 a demonstration of how to safely grill with gas.

Gas Grilling Safety Tips

  • Secure propane tank
  • Clean grill thoroughly
  • Spray tank connections with soapy water

"If there are any leaks, you'll be able to tell because the water and soap will bubble," said Dwyer.

If you see bubbles, try to tighten the connections. If that doesn't work, Dwyer says take your tank to a professional for servicing.

  • Check, empty dip pan/cup
  • Open lid, turn on grill

Dwyer said, "Keep the lid open before you start it, turn your igniters on, leaving the lid up is very important and then light your grill."

Dwyer says lots of people mistakenly leave the grill closed, and that leads to gas build up.

Ultimately, Tim decided to just use his charcoal grill.

"This grill is time and true tested, it's a good grill, I'm happy with it."

Additional tips 

  • Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors
  • Place grill well away from the home, deck, patio
  • Keep children at least three feet away from grilling area
  • Never leave grill unattended