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Fry the Turkey, Not the House


While fried turkey has become popular over the past few years as an alternative to the traditional baked version at Thanksgiving, the danger of frying at home may outweigh the delight. Each year, deep fryer fires cause an average of three times the damage of other forms of cooking, including five deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). And every year, there are more homes burned and people harmed when large, wet birds meet a fryer full of hot oil.

 

In fact, the process has proven so dangerous, experts at NFPA and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) recommend that you “just say no” to home turkey fryers. Consider this:

 

·        Many fryers are prone to easy tipping, spilling hot oil on surrounding property—and people

·        Fryers are often overfilled with oil and when a turkey is added, the oil spills, hitting burners or flames and potentially setting fire to the entire unit, decking and other nearby property

·        If no thermostat is on the unit, oil may overheat and combust into flames

·        Lid and handles on pots can become extremely hot, creating severe burn risk even when handled with otherwise heat-resistant utensils or gloves

 

If you do decide to fry a turkey, UL suggests the following precautions:

 

·        Always use the fryer outdoors, at a safe distance from buildings or other flammable property

·        Never use a fryer in a garage or on a wooden deck

·        Be sure the fryer is on a flat surface to minimize tipping

·        Never leave the fryer unattended, especially if there is no thermostat

·        Keep children and pets away from the fryer. Remember that even after use, oil can stay dangerously hot for hours

·        Never overfill your pot with oil

·        Wear well-insulated oven mitts and safety goggles

·        Be certain turkey is completely thawed and patted dry. Mixing hot oil and water can be explosive

·        Always keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher at hand. Water will not extinguish an oil fire—in fact, it will increase the danger of explosion and injury

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