Thanksgiving is a holiday people might not associate with building fires or burn injuries, apart from minor burns from wrestling a turkey out of the oven. But deep-frying turkeys definitely increases burn and fire hazards, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
AMR paramedics recommend following these safety tips from the Burn Institute (www.burninstitute.org) to help you and your loved ones prevent serious injuries and property loss when using a turkey fryer.
- NEVER leave turkey fryers unattended. Due to the risk, it is wise to have two fry cooks.
- ALWAYS keep children away from the fryer. AMR recommends drawing a circle ten feet in diameter around the fryer and declaring it a “kid-free zone.”
- ALWAYS use turkey fryers outdoors. Do not use them in garages or under carports.
- ALWAYS keep fryers away from flammable materials. Do not use them under eaves or porches or near leaves, bushes or trees.
- ALWAYS place fryers on a flat, stable, non-flammable surface such as concrete. Do not fry the bird on a deck.
- NEVER overfill the fryer.
- ALWAYS follow the fryer manufacturer’s warnings and recommendations for use.
- NEVER heat oil above the recommended temperature.
- ALWAYS use a thermometer to monitor food temperature.
- NEVER move the fryer once it is in operation.
- NEVER let the cooks consume alcohol while tending the fryer.
- ALWAYS thaw your turkey completely before placing it in the fryer. Putting a still-frozen turkey in hot oil can cause a “flash-over,” a sudden eruption of oil onto the source of heat. Then the oil itself can catch on fire.
- ALWAYS lower the turkey slowly into the oil. Nearly all fryers come with a hook that attaches to the bird. Using the hook keeps your hands several inches above the hot oil.
- NEVER stand directly over hot oil.
- ALWAYS make sure the oil is completely cooled before removing it from the fryer.
- ALWAYS use long-sleeved, flame-retardant gloves when putting the turkey into the fryer or taking the turkey or oil out.
- ALWAYS keep a fire extinguisher with you when using a turkey fryer.
- If the fryer catches fire, immediately call 911. The oil itself may be burning, so DO NOT ATTEMPT TO EXTINGUISH THE FIRE WITH WATER. Hot oil doused with water can erupt with deadly results.
Serving nearly 20 counties, AMR’s companies in Mississippi are the state’s busiest ambulance services. The Mississippi Department of Health has reported AMR companies transported more than 40 percent of ambulance patients statewide in some recent years.