Deep frying a turkey, while a tasty alternative to the traditional oven–roasted main course, can lead to fire and serious injury if you are not careful. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department and the Office of the State Fire Commissioner caution consumers to be extra careful if deep frying a turkey is part of your Thanksgiving celebration.
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports that nearly 4,300 fires occur on Thanksgiving, causing 15 deaths and almost $27 million in property damage. Many of these home fires are due to deep-frying accidents.
Here are some tips to keep you, your guests and your property safe:
- Read the turkey fryer owner’s manual thoroughly for proper set up and safety tips.
- Make sure your bird is completely thawed before frying (hot oil and water do not mix).
- Use the correct amount of oil. Overfilling the oil may spill out of the pot and hit the burner, increasing the chance for flames and fire to engulf the entire unit.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Many don’t have thermostat controls to prevent overheating of the oil to the point it ignites.
- Keep children and pets away from fryer.
- Use proper hand protection. Lids and handles of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
- Have an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish an oil fire.
- Do not deep fry your turkey inside your garage, on your porch or deck, or inside your home.
- Use your fryer outside, away from trees, walls, fences and other structures.
Homeowner insurance policies will cover things like the structure of your home, your personal belongings and liability protection for injury to your guests, but it is best to do what you can to avoid these types of insurance claims in the first place.