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Texas Is No. 1 —- For Fried Turkey Fires

  Earlier this week, State Farm released a study finding that we’re once again tops in an unwanted category — number of fires from frying turkeys.    The study notes that between 2007 and 2011, Texas had 19 reported fires started by those frying turkeys.  We just inched ahead of New York and Illinois, who each had 18.
Not surprising, over half of our turkey fires occurred on Thanksgiving Day.

I question the number of unreported incidents.  For each of those actual fires, I am sure there are dozens (or even hundreds) of other injuries from frying turkeys.

While it’s a great way to cook turkeys, you should also make sure that you’re doing it as safely as possible.

Here are some safety tips that I compiled from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other sources:

  • Keep the fryer in full view while the burner is on.  (Insurance officials say people being distracted is the number one cause of problems.)
  • Cook in a safe area.  Don’t cook in, on or under a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, wooden deck, or any other structure that could catch fire.  Also stay away from all walls, fences, etc.
  • Raise and lower the food SLOWLY to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
  • Cover all bare skin when adding or removing food from the fryer.
  • Check the oil temperature frequently.
  • If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn the gas supply off because the oil is overheated and could catch fire.
  • Set up the fryer so that the wind blows the flame away from the propane tank.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dried.  Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
  • Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions about determining the proper amount of oil to use.
  • Only use fryers on a flat surface.  You don’t want to be the idiot whose fryer tipped over spilling hot oil everywhere.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy — NEVER USE WATER to try and put out the fire.
  • Remember that the unit and the oil remain hot for hours after use.

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