5 Important Turkey Frying Safety Tips

Author: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Last Updated on

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and you’re excited to try out that new deep-fried turkey recipe everyone is raving about.

While dunking your Thanksgiving bird into a fryer creates an undeniably delicious meal, it can also be a recipe for household disaster.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, deep fryer fires cause an average of 60 injuries, five deaths, and more than $15 million in property damage each year.

With that in mind, learn how to put out a turkey fryer fire before you start your Thanksgiving festivities this year. 

What Causes a Turkey Deep Fryer Fire?

Deep frying a turkey seems pretty simple. So what makes the process so dangerous?

There are a few things that combine to make deep-frying a holiday bird treacherous:

turkey deep fryer
Hot oil and frozen turkeys are a recipe for disaster

First of all, there is the hot oil to think about. As you lower the turkey into the hot oil, liquid may spit from the fryer onto the burner below, causing a flare-up or fire.

Fryers are also inherently top-heavy, meaning they can easily tip over and spill hot oil onto nearby people or objects.

Additionally, most turkey fryers don’t have built-in thermostat control. This means the oil can overheat and reach a combustion point.

Finally, there are the dangers associated with a frozen turkey. Placing a partially frozen turkey into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. In rare cases, the ice contained inside the frozen turkey can react with the hot oil, causing the bird to explode.

5 Safety Tips to Deep Fry a Turkey This Year

Still want that delicious, crispy, crunchy bird? Don’t worry. There are ways to fry a turkey safely. 

Here are a few common-sense guidelines to follow:

  1. Use the fryer outdoors, on a non-flammable surface. Instead of setting the fryer up in your kitchen, take it outside and place it in the driveway or on a parking pad. This ensures that, even if the oil does spill over, it won’t ignite nearby flammable materials. It also keeps mess to a minimum and makes cleanup easy.
  2. Keep kids away from the fryer. It’s natural for kids to be curious about the process of deep-frying a turkey. After all, it’s exciting! Remember, though: grease fires are responsible for thousands of injuries each year, and you don’t want your little one to become a statistic. Keep them a safe distance from the hot oil. 
  3. Do not leave the fryer unattended. Make sure someone is around to watch the fryer at all times. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half to cook a turkey, and the fryer should have constant supervision during that time.
  4. Wear safety goggles and an apron. Protect yourself and your clothing from grease splatter by wearing safety goggles to protect your eyes, and a heavy apron to protect your clothing. Additionally, use potholders or oven mitts to handle the fryer and its associated parts.
  5. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed.  The minute ice particles inside a partially frozen turkey hit hot oil, they expand. Prevent an explosion and subsequent grease fire by ensuring your turkey is fully thawed before you start the frying process.

How to Put Out a Turkey Fryer Fire

You were as careful as you could be, but things still didn’t go according to plan.  If the turkey fryer goes up in flames while you’re using it, you have a grease fire on your hands.

Here’s how to put out a turkey fryer fire:

Under no circumstances should you use water to fight the fire. Instead, grease fires should always be fought with appropriate fire extinguishers.

What type of fire extinguisher should be used for a turkey fire?

Applicable models include dry powder, co2, AFFF foam, and BCF/Halon extinguishers. Keep a fire extinguisher within reach at all times when you’re frying a turkey.

To put out the fire, aim the hose of the extinguisher at the base of the flames and deploy a constant stream of foam until the fire is snuffed out. If the fire persists, call the fire department immediately.

ServiceMaster by Zaba is Here for Your Fire Restoration Needs

Despite all the safety tips, many people experience grease fires around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Dealing with fire damage? ServiceMaster by Zaba is the name to know.

Did you suffer a turkey frying mishap this year? ServiceMaster by Zaba helps many families in Chicago, IL and the suburbs recover from grease fires each holiday season.

Let us help you. Contact our team today to learn more. 

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