NFPA offers Thanksgiving safety tips
Thanksgiving is approaching quickly so the National Fire Prevention Association has offered safety tips for inside cooking and turkey frying:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Protect kids’ safety by keeping them three feet away from the stove.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from hot beverages or food being cooked could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear of tripping hazards.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords are not dangling off counter within reach of a child.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit a candle.
- Make sure smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
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. Use of turkey fryers can lead to serious burns, other injuries and destruction of property.
Those who prefer fried turkey should follow safety precautions by seeking out 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.”
- Hot oil may splash or spill at any point during cooking process, when the fryer is jarred or tipped over, the turkey is placed in the fryer or removed, or the turkey is moved from the fryer to the table. Any contact between hot oil and skin could result in serious injury. Any contact between hot oil and nonmetallic materials could lead to serious damage.
- A major spill of hot oil can occur with fryers designed for outdoor use and using a stand as these units are particularly vulnerable to upset or collapse, followed by a major spill of hot oil. NFPA does not believe that consumer education alone can make the risks of either type of fryer acceptably low because of large quantities of hot oil involved and speed and severity of burn likely to occur with contact.
- In deep frying, oil is heated to temperatures of 350 degrees or more. Cooking oil is combustible, and if it is heated beyond its cooking temperature, its vapors can ignite. This is a fire danger separate from the burn danger inherent in the hot oil. Overheating can occur if temperature controls, which are designed to shut off the fryer if the oil overheats, are defective, or if the appliance has no temperature controls.
- Propane-fired turkey fryers are designed for outdoor use, particularly for Thanksgiving, by which time both rain and snow are common in many areas. If rain or snow strikes exposed hot cooking oil, the result can be a splattering of the hot oil or a conversion of the rain or snow to steam, and both can lead to burns.
- The approximately five gallons of oil in fryers create an additional level of hazard to deep fryer cooking as does the size and weight of turkey, which must be safely lowered into and raised out of the hot oil. Many turkeys are purchased frozen and may not be fully thawed when cooking begins. As with a rainy day, a defrosting turkey creates risk of contact between hot cooking oil.