More home fires are started by cooking equipment on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. One common culprit is the deep fryer. In fact, each year deep-fryer fires are responsible for five deaths, 60 injuries, and the destruction of 900 homes, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Deep fried turkey accidents can be violent and destructive, as seen in this compilation video of such accidents…
...which is why it’s important for Arkansas families to undertake serious caution if you attempt this method of cooking your bird. Here are some tips to help keep your family and home safe:
- Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
- Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
- Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
- Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it's in use.
- Leave two feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid overfilling the fryer. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
- Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that's 8 to 10 pounds is best; avoid turkeys over 12 pounds.
- Never leave fryers unattended.
- Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
- Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
- Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep an "ABC" or grease-rated fire extinguisher close by. Do not to use water or a garden hose on an oil/grease fire.
- Skip the stuffing when frying turkey, and avoid water-based marinades.
- Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
- Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
- Opt for an oil-less fryer, which uses infrared heat to cook the turkey.1