Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
November 22, 2013 - State Fire Marshal Richard Miller today urges cooking safety on Thanksgiving Day, the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many fires occurring on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. Miller encourages safety when using turkey fryers, especially outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil. New and safer oil-less fryers are now available.
"Deep-frying a turkey for Thanksgiving has recently become more popular but it is dangerous if not done properly,” said Miller. “Consumers who choose to use turkey fryers need to know the risk of fire, devastating burns and destruction of property.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, turkey fryers that use oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for acceptably safe use by even well-informed and careful consumers.
“Never use a turkey fryer indoors, in the garage or on a covered patio because of the fire hazard. Use it only outdoors because deep frying a turkey in several gallons of hot oil over 350 degrees,” said Miller.
Miller explained that most turkey fryer incidents occur while the oil is being heated. The units can easily tip over, spilling hot, scalding oil onto anyone or anything nearby, leading to fires, burns or other injuries. Since most units do not have automatic thermostat controls, oil may heat until it catches fire. The sides, lids, and handles get extremely hot and may cause burns.
“Cook a turkey the traditional way – in an oven. But if consumers prefer turkey fryers, they should consider switching to the newer units available, the oil-less electric or infrared models that are much safer provided that instructions are followed carefully.”
Safety tips for turkey fryers include:
Thanksgiving Day also brings an increased risk of fire with stovetops and ovens working overtime. Inexperienced or busy cooks can become distracted trying to prepare several dishes while entertaining family and friends. Cooking fires can easily be prevented by following a few simple precautions:
“Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it, whether you’re in the kitchen cooking or outside using a turkey fryer,” said Miller. “Above all, don’t try and fight a fire yourself. Immediately call 9-1-1 in such emergencies.”
The Bureau of Fire Services wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Visit the Bureau of Fire Services website at www.michigan.gov/bfs for more fire safety information.