Deep-Fried Turkeys are Delicious…and Dangerous

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), turkey deep fryer fires cause more than $15 million in property damage every year, plus injuries due to fire or splash burns. The NFPA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warn about the fire risk associated with increasingly popular deep-fried Thanksgiving turkeys.

Consider these tips from the NFPA and the CPSC before attempting to deep-fry the centerpiece of your holiday feast.

  • Only use deep fryers outdoors.
  • Completely thaw your turkey before inserting it into the hot oil. Partially frozen turkeys can explode when they make contact with the oil, and can also cause splattering and spillage.
  • Don’t drink alcohol when you are frying a turkey. You need to be extremely alert and in complete control during the entire process.
  • Keep the deep fryer far away from your house, deck, garage, shed or any other structures.
  • Wear long pants, shoes and a long-sleeved shirt while manning the fryer. Splattering can cause serious burns.
  • Never put out a fryer fire with water—oil and water do NOT mix. Have a fire extinguisher nearby and ready to use.
  • Too much oil in the fryer will overflow when the turkey is inserted. Carefully measure the amount of oil for the fryer to prevent spills.
  • Keep children and animals away from the fryer.
  • Turn off the fryer immediately if you see any smoke. Fires can start and spread quickly.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended for any length of time.
  • Carefully center the fryer pot over the burner.
  • Check the oil temperature frequently.
  • Make sure that the fryer is on flat ground to reduce the chance of tipping.
  • Keep people away from the fryer even after the turkey is done. The oil will remain hot and hazardous for hours.
  • Use high quality potholders or oven mitts when touching the pot or handles, and consider using safety goggles.

Do not attempt to deep-fry your Thanksgiving turkey if you are not committed to following a wealth of safety precautions. Mishaps can happen in an instant, and can turn your Thanksgiving celebration into a disaster.

Have you ever deep-fried a turkey? Was it worth the worry? How did you stay safe?

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