TAMPA (FOX 13) - Turkey is the main event for Thanksgiving, but the holiday is also the peak day for home cooking fires due to turkey fryers.
The National Fire Protection Association strongly discourages using a turkey fryer. In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving. Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
Experts with the organization say the fryers that use cooking oil are not suitable for homes, no matter how careful the user can be. The equipment uses a substantial quality of oil at high temperatures.The hot oil could be released, resulting in a dangerous situation, and ultimately, a fire.
If you do choose to use a turkey fryer this year, there are some important measures you can take to make sure you do so safely. Here are some tips from Butterball:
- Completely thaw your turkey, or use a fresh turkey
- Remove excess fat
- Add oil to the fryer, but don't exceed the maximum fill line. Preheat oil in the fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not stuff the turkey when deep-frying. Cook the stuffing separately.
- Minimize sticking to the basket by submerging the empty basket in the hot oil for about 30 seconds, and remove and place turkey inside and submerge.
Additional tips here
- There should be at least three to five inches from the fill line to the top of the pot so oil doesn't blow over.
- Take the wrapper off the turkey, then remove and discard the neck and giblets
- Use deep-fryer on a flat surface, far away from homes, garages, wooden decks, etc.
- Preheat oil in the fryer to 375 degrees
- Add oil to the fryer, based on the water line
- Pat turkey dry with paper towels
Additional tips here
General Home Cooking Tips, per NFPA:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don't trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children -- up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.