Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-335-LARA (52727)
November 25, 2019 - State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer urges fire safety by encouraging Michiganders to follow a few simple precautions when preparing their meal on Thanksgiving Day, the leading day for home cooking fires.
Consumers who use portable deep fryers to cook turkeys should know the dangers involved and consider a safer alternative to cook their turkey. Portable propane fueled turkey fryers – a popular and faster cooking method for Thanksgiving turkeys – pose considerable fire risk if not used correctly.
“Deep frying a turkey – in several gallons of hot oil over 350 degrees – is as flammable as gasoline, if the cooking oil vapors ignite,” said Sehlmeyer. “Never use a portable deep fryer in a garage, near a deck, breezeway, porch or inside any structure; improperly deep-frying turkeys result in a high number of house and garage fires every year.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), portable deep fryers that use oil – as currently designed – are not suitable for safe use, even by well-informed and careful consumers. Vapors coming off the heated cooking oil are highly combustible. If the cooking oil in a portable deep fryer is overfilled, splash-back and boil-over may occur when immersing the turkey. This video demonstrates how dangerous these turkey fryers can be.
Sehlmeyer said oil-less electric or infrared models are much safer methods of cooking turkeys, provided safety precautions are carefully followed:
Cooking in the kitchen has its own fire risks. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the average number of reported residential fires more than doubles on Thanksgiving Day compared to any other day of the year. Two-thirds (67 percent) of home cooking fires start when food or cooking materials catch on fire. More than half (55 percent) of home cooking fire injuries happened when people tried to fight the fire themselves.
“Always keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it,” said Sehlmeyer. “If you don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher, do not try to fight a fire yourself; immediately call 9-1-1 in such emergencies and quickly evacuate the home.”
Unattended cooking is the second leading cause of residential fires in Michigan, especially on Thanksgiving when cooks can be distracted. Cooking should never be left unattended; cooking fires can easily be prevented by following a few simple precautions:
Michiganders are reminded to test the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors of elderly family members when visiting them during the Thanksgiving holiday. MI Prevention has identified that people between the ages of 40 and 69 are at the greatest risk to die in residential fires in Michigan.
Methods to reduce your chance of dying in a fire:
The Bureau of Fire Services wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Visit the Bureau of Fire Services’ website at www.michigan.gov/miprevention for more fire safety information.