Turkey frying this holiday season? Take the necessary precautions

by | Nov 22, 2022 | Police and Fire

From Prince William Fire and Rescue:

Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner; a time when family and friends come together to celebrate all it has to offer including a home cooked meal. But it’s also a time when home fires and home fire injuries occur due to cooking fires. During the winter holiday season, home cooking fires increase, with Thanksgiving as the peak day for these types of fires followed by Christmas and Christmas Eve, resulting in injuries, deaths, and millions of
dollars in property damage.


One contributor to holiday fires is turkey frying, and although extremely popular especially during this time of the year, it’s a burn hazard for consumers. Since its inception, the food appliance industry has taken great strides in the improvement of turkey fryers. However, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states, they’re still hazardous due to the amount of oil and high temperatures used during the cooking process. Even well informed and
careful consumers are at risk when using a turkey fryer. NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers unless used by properly trained professionals of grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants who use professional quality equipment.

Hazards and Precautions for Turkey Frying
• Hot oil can spill or splash over onto the flame igniting a fire. This can occur during the cooking process especially when placing the turkey in the fryer or when removing it.
• Fryers designed for outdoor use with or without a stand are prone to collapse causing a major hot oil spill.
• Cooking oil is combustible. If heated beyond its cooking temperature (375°), its vapors can ignite.
• Steam can result from hot cooking oil exposed to snow or rain causing a splattering of the hot oil leading to burns.
• The use of turkey fryers in close quarters poses a burn hazard/danger to children and others in the home. Oil inside a pot can stay dangerously hot for hours after use.
• DO NOT use in, on or, under a garage, deck, breezeway, porch, barn, or any structure that can catch fire.

• Frozen or partially frozen turkeys, when cooked, will cause the hot oil to splatter or produce hot steam leading to burns.
• Should a grease fire occur:
o NEVER use water to extinguish it!
o Get out and stay out! Once you’re safely out of the house, call 911.

Additional Safety Tips:

Acting Chief James Forgo, of the Prince William County Fire and Rescue System, would like to
remind residents that the leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking. Chief Forgo
urges the community to “Look When You Cook”! “These fires are preventable by simply being
more attentive when using cooking materials and equipment.”

To keep you and your family safe during the holidays and every day, follow these simple safety tips:

“Look When You Cook”
• Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food.
• Turn off the stovetop, if you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time.
• If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home
while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
• Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stove, i.e., oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains.

• Should a cooking fire or grease fire occur:
o NEVER use water to extinguish a cooking fire!
 If possible, cover the pot/pan with a lid and smother the fire.
 Turn off the stovetop.
 Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
o DO NOT attempt to fight the fire! Just Get Out!
 When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
 Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number AFTER you leave.

• For an oven fire:
o Turn off the heat.
o Keep the oven door closed

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