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