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Frying turkeys made safe

by Master Sgt. Troy Wright
Assistant chief of fire prevention

A longtime food favorite in the southern United States, the delicious deep-fried turkey has quickly grown in popularity. While some people rave about this tasty creation, the use of turkey fryers can be so unsafe that they have not received a rating from the Underwriters Laboratories.

Dangers of turkey frying:

  • Many units easily tip over, spilling hot oil within the cooking pot.
  • If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner/flame causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
  • Partially frozen turkeys placed into a fryer can cause a spillover effect, which may result in an extensive fire.
  • With no thermostat controls, the units also have a potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
  • The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.

Turkey fryer tips:

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.
  • Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have a thermostat controls.
  • Never let children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use.
  • To avoid spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don't mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • 4 Keep an all purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. In the event of a fire immediately call 9-1-1 for help.

The MacDill Fire Prevention office wants everyone to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. If you have any questions concerning this issue or any other fire safety issue, contact Master Sgt. Troy Wright at 828-4236.




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