Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving. Whether or not you plan to deep fry your turkey, you should know that more cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year, and that fire insurance claims from grease and cooking accidents more than double, compared to any other day in November, at least according to data from State Farm Insurance.
If you do see flames leaping up around your kitchen, remember that the best way to stop a grease fire is to smother it with a pan lid or some flour – never water – and that sometimes the best thing you can do is call 911 and get out of the house.
And for those of you who are deep frying your turkey, here’s some advice from State Farm and the Illinois Fire Service Institute:
* Don’t overfill the fryer pot. Follow directions in the owner’s manual to determine how much oil to use. If you overfill, the oil will overflow when you lower the turkey, spill on the burner and catch fire.
* Thoroughly thaw the turkey before cooking. Placing a frozen or partially frozen turkey in a fryer can cause oil to splatter, seriously burning anyone standing nearby, and catching fire when coming into contact with the burner.
* When cooking outdoors, stay away from any structures or flammable materials. More than a third of fryer-related fires start in a garage or on a patio.
* Don’t use water or ice to cool the oil or try to put out a grease fire. Contact with water or ice causes cause oil to splatter and spread. Keep a fire extinguisher handy for putting out grease fires.
Most importantly, if you’re deep frying anything, never, ever leave the fryer unattended – you never know what the grease may do.
Most turkey fryer fires are preventable, although Evrley admits he hasn’t been tempted to fry a turkey since the blaze at his mother-in-law’s home. He also agreed to be the “poster child” for State Farm on how to avoid turkey-fryer fires.
“If it saves somebody from doing something like I did, I’m glad to talk about it,” he says.