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Turkey Fryer Safety Tips

The Prince George's County Fire Department offers these tips to reduce the risk of fire and injury when frying a turkey.

Thinking of going a less traditional route this Thanksgiving and deep frying your bird instead of roasting it?

According to the Prince George’s County Fire Department (PGFD), the growing popularity of turkey fryers is cause for concern as they have the potential to cause fires and injuries if not used correctly. 

If you are deep frying your turkey this Thanksgiving, the PGFD asks that you follow these federal government recommended steps to maximize safety and minimize the risk of fire and injuries:

  • Use turkey fryers outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other combustible materials.
  • Always follow manufacturers instructions on the set-up and use of the fryer.
  • Inspect the propane tank and all associated tubes and connections to ensure there are no leaks of the flammable gas.
  • Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix; water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • The National Turkey Federation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.

Jenni Pompi November 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Has anyone ever had fried turkey? My uncle made one for Thanksgiving down in South Carolina several years ago. I was skeptical of a giant, fried bird, but it really was delicious (and, as a former fire fighter, he was very safety conscious.)
Shaka Zulu November 21, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I made the mistake of telling family one year I was doing it, I ended up cooking 10 that year, it is simple as long as you follow directions, do not leave it unattended, watch temperature of the oil, have a fire extinguisher on hand at all times of course, and keep anyone who has been drinking away too, make sure your pets are not able to get close either, i have cooked about 30 of them now and have had no problems, love the Cajun rub and injector kit available from Bass ProShops
Pachacutec November 21, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Jenni and Shaka; sounds like the people in your family use plain old-fashioned common sense when cooking their fried turkeys! (I'm sure the turkeys were great, too!)
mike February 01, 2013 at 03:36 PM
why is it that nobody ever suggests turning the fire off before placing a turkey in hot oil

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