SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start to summer and that means people will be pulling out the grills and firing them up.
Harrison County Fire Marshall Pat Sullivan said, "Grilling is great fun as we all know, but it can be dangerous. And you just have to keep that in the back of your mind."
Sullivan has seen first hand the dangers of grilling.
"We had a large woods fire not too long ago that resulted directly from disposing of charcoal that wasn't cool yet. We have had several apartment fires where people were cooking out on their porch, and they inadvertently tried to dispose of the charcoal in a container that caught on fire," Sullivan said.
According to the National Fire Protection Association grills are the cause of about 7,700 fires every year.
"Certainly most fires that involve a grill is preventable," Sullivan said.
Grilling expert Mike Rogers says the first thing you need to do with a gas grill is check your hoses.
"Take a container with some soapy water and a brush, brush it over hoses and all connections and fittings and if it doesn't bubble you have good connection, if it does bubble you have a leak," Rogers said.
Once you get to cooking a common issue is flare ups.
Rogers said, "If you have a flare up on your grill do not throw any solids on it, no flammables obviously, just shut the lid, shut the gas and let the fire die down by itself. Do not pour water over it."
And a major mistake some people make Sullivan said, "We've had people that have tried to grill on the inside which everyone should know that is a big no, no."
Rogers agreed, "Never, especially with charcoal that produces carbon monoxide and that will be fatal."
Sullivan said, "If you use the right tools you should be safe and that is our primary concern this weekend that people are safe."
Also remember when grilling you should also be aware of what temperatures to cook your food at to avoid salmonella or e-.coli.
Click here to find the recommended food temperatures.