2008-11-26 / News

Deep fried turkeys pose fire hazard

The Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs (RIAFC) wants to remind home cooks to think of safety first if Thanksgiving plans call for a deep fried turkey.

Cooking fires are more likely to happen on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. In 2005, cooking fires were involved in roughly 1,300 reported home structure fires on Thanksgiving - nearly three times the daily average.

Deep fryers can quickly get out of control due to the high temperature of the oil, which can easily boil over and make contact with the flame, causing a large, explosive fire. For those home cooks who must have a deep fried turkey this Thanksgiving, the RIAFC offers the following tips:

Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn. Many units easily tip over, so be sure fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping. Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.

The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards. Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.

If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner/flames causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don't mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.

The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator.

Never leave the fryer unattended. With no thermostat controls, the units have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.

Never let children or pets near the fryer during or after use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot for hours

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