Turkey fryer safety tips

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Phillip Burns II
  • 23d Civil Engineer Squadron
Each Thanksgiving, families anticipate a perfectly-cooked turkey waiting on the dinner table like many magazines and television commercials promise. Unfortunately, since most of us do not have the cooking talents of celebrity television chefs, that dream is not always a reality.

That's why many people turn to deep frying their turkeys.  With a turkey fryer, what used to take several hours with little guarantee, now takes only 45 minutes or so with the assurance of a plump, moist bird every time. However, it's important to ask if the trade-off for time and taste is worth the safety risk.

Insurance company statistics show that more grease and cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports an average of five deaths, 60 injuries and more than $15 million in property damage each year.  Also, the highly recognizable Underwriters Laboratories (UL) feels so strongly about the risks associated with turkey fryers, they will not certify turkey fryers.

Even armed with this information, people know what they like, and some will proceed using a turkey fryer to prepare their birds.  With that in mind, the Moody Fire Prevention Office staff urges you to be fully aware of the hazards and crucial safety information for a safe holiday.

The primary hazards for fire and injury have been attributed to the following:

· Improper use by untrained persons
· Improperly designed homemade fryers
· Fryer placed too close to combustibles
· Fryers used inside houses or garages
· Overfilling the fryer with oil
· Placing frozen/wet turkeys into the fryer
· Plunging the turkey too quickly into the fryer
· Leaving the fryer unattended

If you are still planning to fry your turkey, please follow these tips:

· Purchase a factory-built unit; do not use homemade fryers
· Do not use the fryer on a deck, a combustible surface, or in your garage
· Ensure the fryer is a safe distance from buildings and combustible materials
· Ensure that the unit is on a flat, dry surface
· Never leave the fryer unattended
· Keep all pets and children away from the fryer before, during, and after use
· Do not overfill the fryer with oil
· Use leather gloves or pot holders when touching the unit or lid
· Ensure the turkey is completely thawed and dry before placing it into hot oil
· Place the turkey in the oil slowly; this may take up to a minute depending on size
· Keep a multipurpose (ABC) fire extinguisher nearby in case of fire
· Never use water to extinguish a turkey fryer fire; oil and water do not mix
· If a fire occurs, immediately clear the area and call 911

If you have any questions regarding these or any other fire safety tips, feel free to contact the Fire Prevention Office staff at 229-257-4410.