By Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready
Thanksgiving is almost here and by now many of you are either thawing your turkey or packing the car for a family trip. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are three times as many home cooking fires on Thanksgiving than any other day. In 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day.
Many Oklahomans may be considering deep-frying the holiday bird, but that method can present some serious dangers. NFPA says deep fryer fires result in more than $15 million in property damage every year. While your homeowners’ policy will cover losses related to a home fire, preventing a fire is much simpler than having to file a claim.
If you decide to use a turkey fryer, be sure to remember these safety tips from NFPA.
- Preparation is Key
Make sure your bird is completely thawed and dry. Extra water will cause the oil to bubble furiously and spill over. If oil spills from the fryer onto the burner, it can cause a fire. Make sure to slowly lower the turkey into the pot to prevent oil from splashing.
- Stay Away from The House
Make sure to use the fryer outdoors. Set up the turkey fryer more than 10 feet away from your home and keep children and pets away. Never walk away while cooking your bird. Unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in cooking-related fires and deaths.
- Handle with Care
Use caution when touching the turkey fryer as the lid and handle can become very hot and could cause burns. Also, be sure to keep track of the oil’s temperature, as many fryers do not have their own thermostats.
- Be Prepared
Have a multipurpose, dry-powdered fire extinguisher ready always, in case the oil ignites. Oil and water don’t mix. NEVER use water to cool down oil or extinguish a grease fire. In case of a fire, immediately call 911 for help.
NFPA strongly discourages the use of turkey fryers. I understand they taste great, but perhaps you should consider getting a deep-fried turkey from a grocery store, food retailer, or restaurant just to be safe. Also, I encourage you to download the Thanksgiving Safety Tip Sheet and Cooking Safety Tip Sheet. Keep these tips handy for added peace of mind.