State Fire Marshalls Give Tips on How You Can Safely Fry A Turkey

No one wants to spend Thanksgiving putting out flames while frying a turkey. Check out some tips from the State Fire Marshalls on how to keep just the turkey fried.

Mississippi State Fire Marshalls demonstrated how not to fry a turkey earlier this week in preparation for Thanksgiving.  Firefighters placed a semi-frozen turkey into a fryer overfilled with oil.  When the oil spilled over, it catches fire.

According to a study by the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak for home cooking fires.  Jim Pollard with AMR even says that it is considered one of the most dangerous holidays.

“Lots of distractions, the football game gets close before you know it… keep a fire extinguisher handy… never throw water on a grease fire…,” Pollard said. “And make certain you don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen and turn those handles for every pot towards the inside and that is so you don’t turn them over on anybody because scalding is a nasty way to get burned.”

The Fire Marshals shared these tips to help avoid disaster when using a turkey fryer:

  • Fryers should be used outdoors, a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
  • Some turkey fryers are designed for indoor use. If you use one of these, follow manufacturer directions carefully.
  • Never use a fryer in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dried before cooking. Be careful with marinades, because oil and water do not mix, and water causes the oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recommends you thaw a turkey 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
  • The Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office recommends when using a propane fryer, using a hose at least 6 feet long to distance the propane tank from the fryers flame.