By Dave Zaniboni, SBC Fire
Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. Turkey fryers are dangerous and the most common cause of residential fires during the holidays. If a turkey fryer absolutely must be used, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department urges people to be careful and to follow these basic safety tips:
- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors at a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
- During cooking, hot oil can splash on your hands or face resulting in burn injuries.
- Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
- Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. As a result, the oil will continually heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer, even if it is not in use. The oil inside thecooking 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. Ifpossible, wear safety goggles, long sleeve shirt, long pants, and closed shoes to protect you from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil andwater do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
- The National Turkey Federation (NTF) 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.
Severe burns and other personal injuries as well as destruction of property may result from improper use of gas-fueled turkey fryers. These cooking appliances are very popular for Thanksgiving but they are not safe! The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discourages their use. The risk of oil spilling is significant and the resulting injuries can be severe. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department reminds people to use extreme caution when using a turkey fryer this Thanksgiving.