Thanksgiving Safety Tips Caution Cooks Away from Turkey Deep Fryers
Southerners love deep fried turkeys on Thanksgiving. However, for the past several years, local, state, and even federal safety officials warn Thanksgiving cooks away from turkey deep fryers, especially ones that use oil.
According to an article in The State recently, State Farm Insurance ranks South Carolina as 10th in the nation for all grease and cooking-related fires. This includes the dangerous turkey deep fryers. National statistics indicate that, on Thanksgiving every year, state fire departments respond to about 1,000 fires related to turkey deep fryers, and that the ensuing fires cause up to $15 million in property damage. Innumerable adults, children, and pets are in the line of fire – or rather, hot oil – every holiday season.
Most safety experts agree that the real danger of using a turkey deep fryer comes when cooks dump a whole frozen turkey into hot oil. In Tampa, FL, firefighters had scheduled a demonstration to show reporters exactly how dangerous frozen turkeys could be; however,the demonstration was canceled because even the firefighters decided deep frying a whole, frozen turkey was too dangerous. Tampa Fire Fighters caution that, basically, there is no safe way to deep fry a turkey – “Just a ‘safer way’ and a ‘not really safe’ way.”
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) describes exactly why turkey deep fryers are so dangerous. Not only are cooks and on-lookers exposed to splattering hot oil, but large outdoor units can tip over and spill gallons of hot oil everywhere; oil heated beyond 350 degrees Fahrenheit can spontaneously ignite; outdoor propane-heated units can catch oil on fire, or surrounding areas; and even smaller indoor units increase safety hazards due to their proximity to guests. The NFPA recommends consumers steer clear of turkey deep fryers because safety standards are not uniform, and therefore safety cannot be guaranteed based on any approval notices on packaging.
Safety Comes First When Using a Turkey Deep Fryer
Although many people enjoy deep-fried turkeys as part of their holiday tradition, the safety risks might not be worth it. However, if you insist on using a turkey deep fryer for your Thanksgiving bird, consider these safety tips:
- Keep your outdoor model turkey deep fryer in an open space outdoors. According to State Farm, one-third of turkey deep fryer-related fires start because outdoor units are moved into a garage or onto a patio due to inclement weather. If rain or snow makes you consider moving your turkey deep fryer into a covered location, consider oven-roasting your turkey instead.
- Thaw your turkey before cooking it. The extreme change in temperature is part of what causes oil spills, explosions, and fires when using turkey fryers.
- Figure out how much oil you need to submerge your turkey before you heat the oil. You can lower your turkey into the fryer and then fill it with oil to determine the volume.
- If your outdoor fryer’s heat source is propane or another combustible fuel source, turn that off when lowering the turkey into the fryer. Any oil that spatters or spills will not combust in the flame.
- Use fire extinguishers for any fires, and be sure to keep one nearby. Do not use ice, water, sand, or blankets to extinguish the fire.
Also important this holiday season, remember some safety tips to prevent food poisoning from salmonella. Thoroughly cook your turkey, and do not serve or eat any poultry meat that is still pink; use a separate cutting surface when preparing poultry; clean every surface thoroughly after preparing poultry or other kinds of meat; and store meat separately from other dishes, such as casseroles or vegetables.
The Strom Law Firm Cautions South Carolinians To Consider Safety When Using Turkey Deep Fryers, and Wishes Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving
The Strom Law Firm was founded in Columbia, SC sixteen years ago. The experienced attorneys at Strom Law encourage South Carolinians to use caution when cooking this holiday season, and call emergency services if accidents do occur. However, if you have used a product with all reasonable caution and the device still harmed you, you may be entitled to compensation. The personal injury attorneys at the Strom Law Firm offer free, confidential consultations to discuss your case, including cases against turkey deep fryers. Contact us today. 803.252.4800.