AVERY COUNTY — Deep-frying turkeys is a popular way of cooking the holiday bird, but one that comes with some hazards, including danger of fire.
According to a press release from the NC Department of Insurance, the US Fire Administration approximates 2,000 house fires happen in the United States during the holidays each year alone.
The National Fire Protection Association discourages the use of outdoor fryers except by professionals.
The following are some general safety tips for frying turkeys during this holiday season from NC Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey:
- Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
- Keep flammable items such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains away from the cooking area.
- Establish a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and other areas where hot food or drink is being prepared or carried.
- Be alert when cooking. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t cook.
- If your stove catches on fire, when in doubt, just get out! Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.
Avery County Fire Marshall Paul Buchanan said a fryer needs a 20 foot-berth needs a 20 foot-berth from any structures or flammable material.
Here is a comprehensive list courtesy of the New York City Fire Department of why deep frying a turkey is dangerous, and how you can be safe if you do decide to do so:
The use of turkey fryers is considered a risk of serious injury and fire because:
- As the turkey is placed in the hot oil, oil may spill from the fryer onto the burner, causing a fire.
- Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling the hot oil onto anyone nearby.
- Most turkey fryers do not have an automatic thermostat control. Because of this, the oil can overheat to the point of combustion and cause a fire.
- Turkey fryers, including the lid and handles, get extremely hot and can easily cause burns.
- Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect.
- Underwriter Laboratories, one of the country’s top safety consulting companies, has decided not to safety certify any turkey fryers because of the increasing number of fires and burn injuries related to their use.
If you decide to use a turkey fryer:
- Make sure to use the fryer outdoors, and use the fryer a safe distance from flammable materials and other buildings.
- Do not use turkey fryers in a garage.
- Never let children near the fryer, even when it’s not in use.
- Never leave the fryer
- Do not overfill the fryer.
- Use safety goggles to protect your eyes and always use pot holders or oven mitts when handling the fryer.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed.
- Keep a fire extinguisher near the fryer. Do NOT use water to put out a grease fire.