RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner and many people will be firing up the grill for the first time this year.
But there are a few safety precautions you'll want to take before you get started.
Joanie Salib uncovered her grill Wednesday for the first time this year, getting ready for the unofficial kickoff to summer.
"We're going to fire it up and have a big party," Salib said. "Hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, everything."
But grilling can be dangerous if you don't do it right.
A home off Cullenwood Drive in Richmond caught fire just last week after used charcoals caught a garbage bag on fire and eventually spread to the home.
Wednesday we invited Shawn Jones of the Richmond Fire Department over to the Salib home to take a look at their grill before the weekend.
Right off the bat, he noticed the grill should be about ten feet away from the house or deck.
"Certainly want to make sure that if you use a grill, make sure it's away from anything that can burn," Jones said.
Jones also recommends mixing water and soap and pouring it onto your propane gas line after turning it on. If there's a leak - you'll see it bubble and you should shut it off immediately.
But if you use a charcoal grill, you should leave any used charcoals in the grill for a week before throwing them away. These charcoals can still be hot on the inside days after you stopped using them.
"We did learn a few things today," Salib said. "I thought it would go out in an hour. I didn't know it would take three days, did you? I didn't know that. I thought, oh well, it's done, it's done."
There are nearly 8000 grill-related fires each year nationwide.
Firefighters say they see the most grill fires around the Fourth of July.