Friday, November 16, 2012

Fry your turkey with care

November 15, 2012
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2005 and 2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 900 home structure fires per year in which a deep fryer was involved in ignition.  These fires caused an annual average of 30 civilian injuries, and $14 million in direct property damage per year.  During the same period, these incidents accounted for 1% of the reported home fires involving cooking equipment, 1% of the associated civilian injuries, and 2% of the direct property damage from cooking equipment fires.  No deaths associated with fires involving deep fryers were reported during this period.
If you are frying a turkey, please consider these basic safety principles when using turkey fryers and only use them outside:
--Use turkey fryers outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other combustible materials.
--New use turkey fryers 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.  Most units do not have thermostat controls.  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 the cooking pot 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 completed thawed and be careful with marinades.  Oil and water do not mix; water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
--The National Turkey Federation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
--Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby.  Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.  If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher.  If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.
--If a fire does occur, DIAL 9-1-1 immediate and leave the immediate area.
You should consider that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil.  Because these turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures, and units currently available for home use pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process.  The use of turkey fryers by consumers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property.  NFPA urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out professional establishments, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants for the preparation of the dish, or consider a new type of "oil-less" turkey fryer."
For additional information, visit the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety on the web at or call 757-890-3600 between 8:15 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  
Statistics Courtesy: National Fire Protection Association Fire Analysis and Research Division 2011.
Safety Tips Courtesy:  United States Fire Administration, Underwriters Laboratories and the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety.
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