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For many, Thanksgiving means three things: family, pumpkin pie, and a deep fried turkey. The growing Thanksgiving trend of preparing deep fried turkey is expanding far beyond the South into homes across the country. A deep fried turkey may provide a taste that is unmatched to traditional turkey methods, but the actual frying can be extremely dangerous. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), nearly 4,300 fires occur on Thanksgiving, which nearly doubles the number of structure fires, causing 15 deaths and almost $27 million in property damage. No doubt the increase in fires is due to the increase in cooking, but far too many of these fires are caused by deep frying turkeys.

Tips For Turkey SafetyTips to Turkey Safety

#1: The number one tip for frying turkey safety is to always deep fry outside. The fryer and materials should be kept far away from buildings and materials that can burn. In turn, homeowners should keep animals and children away from the fryer so they don't get burned or accidentally knock the fryer over. Never use the fryer in, on, or under a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or any structure that can catch fire.

#2: Be sure to use the appropriate amount of oil when frying. Most deep fried turkey recipes call for peanut, corn or canola oil, and most fire mishaps occur when too much oil is used and the pot can’t contain it all. The best way to determine how much oil to use is to place the turkey in the pot and cover it with water until the bird is completely covered by about ½ of water. Then remove the turkey and pat it completely dry. Mark the water level, then empty the water and fill the oil to the marked level.

#3: While the oil is heating, it is important to keep an eye out for any smoke or overheating. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that most turkey frying accidents occur while the oil is being heated, prior to even adding the turkey.

#4: NEVER leave a fryer unattended. Regardless of whether the oil is heating, the turkey is added, or you are waiting for that crispy golden brown texture, never leave the fryer unattended at any time for any circumstances. Check the oil temperature frequently, and if oil begins to smoke, immediately turn gas supply off.

#5: Turkeys intended for deep frying must be completely thawed and dry before cooking. The USDA recommends thawing for 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of bird. Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.

#6: When working around the frying, take special precautions to ensure that the turkey pot is always centered over the burner on the cooker. When raising and lowering food, take care to do so slowly so as to reduce splatter, avoid burns, and not disturb the pot itself.

#7: Always cover any bare skin while working with hot oil. Even when taking all the necessary precautions, hot oil splatters are hard to avoid and it is important to keep your skin protected by wearing long sleeves, long pants, and gloves.

In the unfortunate even that dire circumstances occur and a fire breaks out, call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to put the fire out with water; smother the fire with baking soda or another agent. It is recommended to check your homeowner’s insurance policy just in case to make sure your home is properly protected from flaming birds this Thanksgiving.

By Matt Reynolds - Google+
Posted 2:15 PM

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