Are you grilling this summer? Firefighters recommend following these steps before lighting a fire

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – It was a sunny, summer-like day at Chesapeake Fire Station 4 last week, and the crew there invited me to a cookout lunch.

But before he threw the burgers and dogs on the grill, Captain Steven Bradley shared with me a few steps he says everyone should take before lighting a fire.

“I want to make sure it’s on a flat surface like it is here. It’s on a concrete slab,” Bradley said. “Manufacturer recommendations and the fire code also state that you should maintain a distance of ten feet from flammable structures.”

Anthony Sabella/WTKR

A Chesapeake firefighter puts hot dogs on the grill at Firehouse 4.

Bradley explained that flammable materials include structures made of wood. It also says to watch out for trees or structures hanging directly above them.

Therefore, firefighters recommend the following steps:

  • Clean your grill thoroughly at least once a year, or more often if it is used frequently
  • Remove grease, grease or food scraps from the grill and check for any buildup inside. They may cause a fire.
  • If using a gas grill, spray the joints with a mixture of soap and water. If bubbles appear, it may indicate a gas leak which should be repaired before operating the grill.
  • For charcoal grills, Bradley advises that once you’re done cooking, place the hot briquettes in a metal tin and give them plenty of time to cool. He says water can help with that.

Soon, hot dogs and hamburgers are sizzling on the firehouse grill as hungry firefighters stand nearby. However, despite all the previous safety checks, a small fire still broke out on the grill.

Anthony Sabella/WTKR

Chesapeake firefighters invited News 3’s Anthony Sabella to a prep lunch at Fire Station 4. Capt. Steven Bradley (pictured) explained the safety steps everyone should take before turning on the grill.

“Close the lid if you can do so safely. You may have to go around the back of the grill to push the lid forward. Close the grill and turn off the heat,” Captain Bradley advises in such situations.

He also says to carry a spray bottle containing just water for small fires, and for larger flames, make sure the extinguisher isn’t too far away.

All the steps you need to take to make family cooking safe, enjoyable and tasty.