HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Fourth of July is this weekend, and that means families are getting ready to gather and have a cookout.

With that, fire departments are pleading with those grilling to practice safety to prevent any fires and explosions. Harrisburg Bureau of Fire is hopeful those barbequing this weekend can follow easy steps to ensure people know what they’re doing right, and how to tell when a fire is starting.

“Fires on the grill typically occur because of accumulated grease, so the easiest thing to do to prevent grill fires is to empty the grease tray on your grill,” Harrisburg Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Sattizahn said. “A good sign that your grill is on fire is the smoke, normally, it should be light gray to white. If your grill is on fire, the smoke will be dark gray, sometimes black.”

Chief Sattizahn says explosions are rare, but that there are signs for when one might happen.

“If one were to occur, it would most likely be because the propane cylinder itself was directly exposed to flames for several minutes,” Chief Sattizahn said.

Chief Sattizahn also asks people to follow proper procedures if a fire were to ignite in your backyard grill.

“First and foremost call 911! Do that before you even attempt to put out the fire,” Chief Sattizahn said. “Second, move the grill aways from anything else that can burn, particularly your house or garage. Third, turn off the gas supply if possible. Lastly, if your grill is on fire it’s most likely because of grease, so you shot NOT use water if at all possible. An ABC dry chemical extinguisher would be better.”

When asking how Pennsylvanians can stay safe this holiday, Chief Sattizahn has two pieces of advice.

“Please don’t use fireworks, let that up to the professionals,” Chief Sattizahn said. “Drink responsibly.”

The fire department also asks that those planning to take a boat out on the water practice safety to prevent tragedy.

“Ensure you are familiar with that body of water, as well as ensure that you have enough life vests for everybody. And, don’t drink and boat,” Chief Sattizahn said.