July 23, 2024

Frying a Turkey for Thanksgiving? Watch Out!

If you’re thinking about frying your turkey for Thanksgiving, the National Fire Protection Association says that outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil are dangerous and should not be used. ┬áThe fryers “pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process,” according to the organization. The NFPA encourages consumers to use a new type of “oil-less” turkey fryer.

Christmas turkeyTests on these fryers shows that hot oil can splash or spill at any time while the turkey is frying. While older fryers that use a stand can collapse, newer countertop units with a solid base “appear to reduce this particular risk.” But NFPA doesn’t think that consumer education alone can make the risks of deep frying a turkey acceptably low. The large amount of oil used and the speed and severity of the burn that can occur are very dangerous. The agency doesn’t recommend any type of turkey fryer.

If you use a propane-fired turkey fryer designed for outdoor use, and it’s raining or snowing, hot oil can splatter or the rain can convert to steam, which can lead to burns. The fryer uses about 5 gallons of oil, introducing an additional level of hazard to deep frying. Add that to the weight of the turkey and accidents are more prone to happen.

According to data gathered by Prince William County in Virginia, turkey fryers are very dangerous, and the holiday itself poses special risks. Hot oil from a fryer can spill or splash over onto the flame, igniting a fire. Fryers designed for outdoor use are prone to collapse. Since cooking oil is combustible, if heated beyond its smoke point, vapors can ignite. Never use a turkey fryer in or under a garage, deck, breezeway, porch, barn, or any other structure that can catch fire. And never ever try to fry a frozen or partially frozen turkey, since that causes splattering of hot oil.

And did you know that about 2,000 home fires occur on Thanskgiving day every year in the U.S? FEMA has a special report on Thanksgiving day fires in residential buildings that was printed in 2010. Those 2,000 fires every Thanksgiving cause an average of 5 deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss. Cooking is the leading cause of all Thanksgiving day fires. And those fires most often start in cooking areas and kitchens.

The NFPA offers safety tips so your holiday doesn’t go up in smoke. Always keep on an eye on food when it’s cooking on the stovetop. Stay at home when you’re cooking your turkey. Make sure kids stay away from the stove and hot foods and liquids. Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, pets, or bags. Never leave kids alone in a room with a lit candle. And make sure your smoke alarms are working.

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