As Americans prepare their Thanksgiving feasts this holiday week, fire prevention experts across the country are busy preparing for the riskiest day of the year.
Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires in America, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, roughly 3 times the daily average.
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The NFPA also says unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and cooking deaths. One popular but dangerous cooking method can cause serious injury and major property damage if done incorrectly: turkey frying.
This year, QBE North America has released a list of turkey fryer safety tips in preparation for the holiday season.
“Cooking continues to be one of the top ways that home fires are started,” said Mark McCormick, Vice President, Personal Risk Services for QBE North America. “By sharing our expertise, QBE hopes to help more people have a safe and healthy holiday.”
Here are 16 turkey fryer safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season:
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner. Remember the turkey will cause displacement so what may seem like a small amount of oil without the turkey will probably end up being the correct amount of oil.
•Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that’s heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is starting to smoke, turn the fryer off immediately.
•Do not dispose of oil down the sink drain.
Related: Here’s what you need to know about fire safety during the holidays
Setting up your fryer
•Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages, and a safe distance away from trees and other flammable (even non-flammable) structures.
•Make sure the turkey is thawed and completely dry before cooking. Any ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause major flare-ups.
•Be mindful of the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
•Always have the fryer on a level surface. Avoid moving the fryer once it is in use and wait for it to cool before moving it.
•Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
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Using the fryer
•Never leave the fryer unattended while heating, in use, or cooling down.
•Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
•Wear the proper safety equipment: goggles to shield your eyes and oven mitts to protect your hands and arms.
•Keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher close by for emergencies.
•Don’t stuff the turkey before frying, and avoid water-based marinades to reduce the chance of flare-ups.
•If you have a flare-up, don’t use a garden hose to put out the fire. Use your grease-rated fire extinguisher.
•Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
•Once the frying has finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface, and cover it to let the oil cool overnight before you dispose of it.
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