Thanksgiving is tomorrow. It’s a day filled with food and festive spirits, but it’s also the top day of the year for cooking-related accidents and injuries, and one of the most common causes of them is the turkey fryer. Let’s face it: anything that involves a vat of boiling oil is inherently dangerous.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t use a fryer – after all, crispy turkey skin is one of our favorite once-a-year guilty pleasures, as well, but we think you should boost your fire insurance policy before you start to cook, have a first aid kit handy, and follow these safety tips, from Dr. Thomas Esposito, chief of the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns in the Department of Surgery, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine:
- Look for the newer fryers with sealed lids to prevent oil spills.
- Keep the fryer in full view while the burner is on.
- Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
- Place the fryer in an open area away from all walls, fences or other structures.
- Never use the fryer in, on, or under a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, deck or any other structure that can catch fire.
- Slowly raise and lower the turkey to reduce hot-oil splatter and to avoid burns.
- Never cook in short sleeves, shorts or bare feet. Cover all bare skin when dunking or removing bird.
- Protect your eyes with goggles or glasses.
- Immediately turn off the fryer if the oil begins to smoke.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix and water can cause oil to spill over, creating a fire or even an explosion.
- Don’t overfill fryer with oil. Turkey fryers can ignite in seconds after oil hits the burner.
- Keep a fire extinguisher appropriate for oil fires close at hand and be familiar with how to operate it.
- Do not use a hose in an attempt to douse a turkey fryer fire.
- If you do burn yourself, or someone else is burned, seek immediate medical attention.