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Fire Department Urges Safety when Frying Turkeys for the Holidays

11/18/2020
Joseph Pleasant; Public Information Officer

Turkey Fryers can cause dangerous fires and property damage

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The Nashville Fire Department wants everyone to use the best safety practices when cooking, especially when using a turkey fryer.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, turkey fryers that use cooking oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer. These turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures and units currently available for home use pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process.

In addition, the burners that heat the oil can ignite spilled oil. The use of turkey fryers by consumers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and the destruction of property.

The National Fire Protection Association urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out professional establishments, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants, for the preparation of the dish, or consider a new type of "oil-less" turkey fryer.

The Nashville Fire Department offers these best practices if you are going to use a traditional turkey fryer:

  • Make sure to completely thaw the turkey. The frozen water will react with the hot oil and cause a boil over that will come in contact with the flame.
  • Do not over fill the turkey fryer pot. Make sure there is enough room in the pot for the oil to rise with the added weight of the turkey without spilling oil.
  • Make sure the fryer is on an even surface.
  • Do not use the turkey fryer on a deck or in a covered space.
  • Do not allow children or pets near the fryer when in use or hours after use while the oil is hot and dangerous.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby at all times. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 911 for help
  • Only deep fry smaller turkeys–up to 12 pounds
  • Never leave the fryer unattended

For video of what a can happen when a turkey fryer is not properly used you can look at this video from NFPA:

Turkey Fryer Video

Turkey Fryer Flaming up from frozen turkey