YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Cooking fires are more likely on Thanksgiving Day than any other holiday.
The average number of home fires reported on Thanksgiving Day was more than 2.3 times more than average (source: USFA data snapshot 2014 to2016), and the most of any holiday.
Most fires happened between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when most people are preparing dinner.
Cooking equipment is involved in almost half of all reported fires and turkey fryers are a major culprit. An overfilled pot will cause oil to spill over and a frozen turkey placed in a pot will cause hot oil to splatter.
Turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire, according to the USFA. The pot, lid and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries.
Safety tips for cooking with turkey fryers: (Source: State Farm Insurance)
- Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
- Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
- Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
- Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it’s in use.
- Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
- Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that’s 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds.
- Never leave fryers unattended.
- Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
- Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
- Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep an “ABC” or grease-rated fire extinguisher close by. Do not to use water or a garden hose on a fire related to Turkey Fryers.
- Skip the stuffing when frying turkey, and avoid water-based marinades.
- Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
- Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
- Opt for an oil-less fryer. This uses infrared heat, rather than oil, to cook the turkey.
For general cooking, always stay in the kitchen when cooking food on a stovetop. Also, food in the oven should be checked frequently.
Other safety tips include:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.