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Turkey Fryer Fires: Make Sure the Turkey is All You Fry!

Post written by Jennifer Wetzel, CIC  

WFI-TCL-Turkey-Frying Thanksgiving is arguably one of the most favored holidays in American culture and widely celebrated.  And what’s not to love?   Spending an entire day relaxing with family, friends and football and ending with a tryptophan-induced nap is a tradition in many households.  Even businesses are getting in on the fun and having Thanksgiving celebrations in the office to celebrate with staff and clients.  In any of these events, the turkey is the star of the show and to produce the best turkey in the shortest time possible many amateur cooks are turning to turkey fryers.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more fires occur on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year by almost three times. The NFPA also reported that, “In 2010, there were 1,370 fires on Thanksgiving, a 219 percent increase over the daily average.”

Distracted cooks, unattended stovetops and overloaded electrical circuits all contribute to this staggering statistic. Turkey fryer fires can now be added to this list.

Growth in Fried Turkey Popularity

Turkey frying is a trend that started about 10 years ago or so and has continued to grow in popularity.  The excitement of cooking outside combined with the novelty of frying versus roasting has tempted many to “try it this year.”

Turkey fryers can be dangerous appliances if not used properly and the ill-formed consumer may end up frying more than just the turkey. To illustrate how quickly turkey fires can spread, go to YouTube and search turkey fryer fires. The videos are worth a thousand words.

Proceed with Caution: Tips to Fry with Care

Here are a few Turkey Fryer Safety Tips to help ensure a safe holiday:

  1. Do not use a turkey fryer on wooden decks or in the garages.
  2. Measure the oil. If overfilled, the turkey will displace some of the hot oil and may hit the burner unit causing a fire that can engulf the entire unit.
  3. Monitor the temperature of the oil. Oil will catch on fire by itself when overheated. Many oils should not exceed 350 degrees.
  4. Use on a flat surface and out of the way. These appliances tip over easily.
  5. Do not extinguish using ice or water. Keep an all purpose extinguisher nearby and call 911 immediately if a fire ensues.
  6. Do not leave unattended. Frying a turkey is a two person job.
  7. Thaw the turkey. Frozen turkeys are full of moisture and it will explode when placed into a fryer of boiling oil, and flames can shoot up to 10 feet into the air.  USDA recommends thawing 24 hours for every four to five pounds.
  8. Remember to turn off the gas and keep an eye on the fryer when not in use.  The oil in fryers will remain dangerously hot even hours after use.
  9. Enjoy a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving feast!

Frying a turkey can be a delicious and fun addition to a Thanksgiving meal. With the proper care and precautions this can be a great new tradition. For more information on this topic, please contact your Westfield Independent Insurance Agent.

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