BLOOMINGTON, Ill., June 29 (UPI) -- The most U.S. cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving followed by Christmas, but the Fourth of July isn't far behind, claims from State Farm insurance indicate.
Data from State Farm claims show nearly 3,000 fire and smoke related claims happen in the month of July and the insurance company says nearly 30 percent of home grilling fires start on a balcony or open patio and they can quickly move to the house.
State Farm advises grillers to:
-- Move the grill away from flammable objects, including the house.
-- Use charcoal starter fluid to start a charcoal grill, but never use lighter fluid or any other fire accelerate on an open flame. Gasoline or lighter fluid is a factor in almost 25 percent of the charcoal grill burns seen in emergency rooms.
-- Never leave the grill unattended, radiating heat from the grill and grease flare-ups can lead to a home fire very quickly.
-- Keep kids and pets at least 3 feet away from the grill.
-- Check the valves and hoses for cracks or leaks. Leaks or hose breaks are the leading factor contributing to gas-fueled grill fires.
-- Properly extinguish a charcoal grill by closing the grill lid and after briquettes have cooled, transfer them into a metal container with long tongs or immerse them in water. Warm charcoal can easily re-ignite and start a fire while the family is away or asleep.