Use Extreme Caution When Frying a Turkey This Thanksgiving

Posted on November 15, 2012

We’ve spent quite a bit of time in recent days talking about how to keep safe while preparing for Thanksgiving.  In one of those reports, we touched ever so briefly on what to do if you plan to fry a turkey rather than pop it in the oven.  However, we feel that we did not provide great enough detail as to how dangerous turkey fryers can be to consumers.  The truth is, many people will opt to use a fryer without understanding the significant dangers posed if you deviate even slightly from optimum usage instructions.  Therefore, we’d like to turn your attention to some valuable safety tips from the fire department of Farmington Hills, Michigan.

First, understand the heightened risk of a fryer.  Because the usage of a fryer entails heating large amounts of oil to a substantially high temperature, the threat of a burn is far more prevalent than it might be with an oven.  In fact, the National Fire Protection Association and various other safety organizations urge people not to use a fryer at all.

We’re not exaggerating the danger either.  Think about it.  If you put too much oil in the fryer, it can flow over the top when you place the turkey inside.  This could scald you, plus the oil could make contact with the burner at the bottom and cause a large blaze.  And an even greater danger could present if the unit is tipped, which is definitely possible given the free-standing nature of fryers.  Plus, the handles and lid could be sufficiently hot so as to burn you when you touch them, which might lead you to then drop the fryer and spill oil everywhere.

If, however, you have your heart set on a fried turkey, then be safe during the frying process.  That means placing the fryer outside nowhere near anything that’s flammable.  And outside does not mean in a garage.  If you plan to place the fryer somewhere like a driveway, then be sure that the surface is completely and utterly flat.

With the fryer in place, be sure to place only the requisite amount of oil in.  Any more, and you risk spilling it over the sides when you put in the turkey.  When it comes to the turkey, verify that the bird has completely thawed before placing it inside so that it can fry adequately.  Always use oven mitts so that you don’t burn your hands.  And if you live in an area where snow is a possibility and the forecast calls for such, refrain from frying, as snow falling into the oil could compromise frying, as could rain.

Finally, have a fire extinguisher on hand, and don’t let pets or children anywhere near the unit.  And never, ever, ever, leave the fryer without supervision.

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