With Thanksgiving Day upon us, we know many folks have started their own tradition of deep-frying a turkey. It all sounds yummy and kind of fun but teeters on the raggedy edge between deliciousness and danger. We reviewed several safety articles and newscasts about deep-frying turkeys. After our review, we decided to go the source of many fire safety regulations and guidelines, the Underwriters’ Laboratory.
Did you know that the Underwriters’ Laboratory, purveyors of the famous UL® safety label, will not certify any turkey fryers? The main reasons they cite are:
- Many turkey-size deep fryers can easily tip over.
- If the fryer has too much oil in it, oil can spill over when the turkey is placed in the fryer. This oil can spill over onto the open flame causing an even bigger fire. (Think about Archimedes sinking into his bathtub and displacing his own volume of liquid. If the tub is full, the liquid inside the tub will spillover; it’s a matter of physics.)
- Partially frozen turkeys can cause spattering and boil over when placed in near boiling oil.
- Many fryers have no thermostat controls, which could lead to overheated oil and combustion.
- The lids and sides of the fryers get dangerously hot which poses the threat of severe burns.
If you want to see what UL is talking about click here to view the compelling video from their test labs.
Still have a hankering for that deep-fried turkey? Well, here’s a summary of ten safety tips from the UL:
- Always use your turkey fryer outdoors.
- Never use your fryer in a garage or on a wooden deck.
- Make sure your fryer is on a flat surface.
- Never leave your fryer alone. If you take your eye off of it, the fryer may continue to heat the oil until it ignites.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer even after you are done frying.
- Do not overfill the fryer.
- In safety professional nomenclature, use “PPE”, personal protective equipment. In this case, PPE would include well-insulated potholders or gloves, an apron, and safety glasses.
- Make sure your turkey is completely thawed. Ice hitting hot oil is a very bad idea.
- The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends that you thaw your turkey in your refrigerator 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher handy. If the fire is manageable, use it. If not, call 911 and clear the area.
Source: Underwriters’ Laboratory