Section: Saint Barnabas Medical Center News

This Thanksgiving, The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Warns of the Dangers of Deep Fried Turkey


Livingston, NJ -- Although many find it a delicious tradition, deep frying a turkey can be dangerous.

Every year deep-fryer fires are responsible for five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes, and more than $15-million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“Thanksgiving is a peak day for home cooking fires,” explains Michael A. Marano, MD, Medical Director of The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. “When it comes to deep frying turkey, you want to take every precaution to keep your family and your home safe.”

Dr. Marano recommends that before you set up your turkey fryer this Thanksgiving, to review the following safety precautions:

• Stay Away from The House – Set up the turkey fryer more than 10 feet away from your home and anything that is flammable. Do not use your garage or a wooden deck. Keep children and pets away and never leave it unattended.

• Use the Right Amount of Oil and Find Flat Ground – The oil in the fryer must be even and steady at all times to ensure safety. Place the fryer on a flat, level surface and carefully gauge the amount of oil needed. A common and potentially disastrous mistake people make is putting too much cooking oil in their pot which can spill over when the turkey is added. The oil will then run down next to the flame on the burner which could result in a catastrophic fire.

• Use a Thawed and Dry Turkey – Make sure your Thanksgiving turkey is completely thawed and dry. Frozen turkeys are full of moisture which will cause the oil to bubble furiously and spill over. If oil spills from the fryer onto the burner, it can cause a fire. Depending on the size of the turkey it could take up to 3 or 4 days in your refrigerator from solid frozen to ready to go in fryer.

• Monitor the Temp – Use caution when touching the turkey fryer. 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. Most oils should stay around 350-degrees, but you can check the label to see what the exact temperature limit is for your oil. When oil gets around 400-425-degrees it can catch on fire by itself.

• Be Prepared – Have a fire extinguisher (multipurpose, dry-powder) ready at all times in the event that the oil ignites.

If clothing catches fire, Dr. Marano explains that the person should drop and roll or be covered with a blanket or other readily available articles to smother flames. Cool all burns immediately with cool, tepid water, never ice. Only approved topical burn creams should be used and only after consulting with a medical professional or The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. Seek medical attention for any burn larger than a person’s hand size. For immediate care, please contact The Burn Center directly at 973.322.5920.

For additional burn and fire safety tips or to learn more about The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, visit

Categories: In the News,Press Releases,Recent News,Wellness