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Turkey Frying Safety – Don’t let the turkey fry your Thankgsgiving plans.

Turky Frying Safety Tips

Turkey Frying Safety Tips from Huff InsuranceIt’s hard to believe that we are days away from Thanksgiving 2021. I personally love Thanksgiving. A day to eat, hang out with family and take a nap not a bad way to spend a Thursday. My mom is a volunteer fire fighter in Rehoboth Beach Delaware Station 86, and she shared a fact that I found so interesting. Thanksgiving is the No. 1 Day for house fires. I thought to myself, ‘Okay this woman might be either going a tad insane or she is on to something here.’ So, like the millennial I am I went to google to find out if there was any truth to her “interesting fact.” If you google “what is the number one day for house fires” you will see that it is in fact Thanksgiving. This was a good sign to me, I thought to myself “okay, so my mother has not completely lost it and is just making up random facts now.”

FEMA Facts

According to FEMA, “The average number of reported residential building fires on Thanksgiving Day was more than double (2.3 times more) the average number of fires in residential buildings on all other days.” (NFIRS Data Snapshot, 2021) Well, this “interesting fact” led me down a rabbit hole of wanting to know more about Thanksgiving safety. The majority of the pages I read all spoke about cooking safety. The most important safety tip that these articles had in common was cooking safety for deep frying a turkey. on the website kids in the house, Hilary Anderson, MA, with the American Red Cross, states “The number one cause of home fires is cooking–unattended cooking. Unfortunately, the #1 day of the year for most home fires is Thanksgiving. Holiday preparedness in general–really, really big on the Red Cross’s agenda.” (Hilary Anderson, n.d.)

In FEMA’s Thanksgiving Day Fires in Residential Buildings (2014-2019) Cooking fires in residential buildings occurred more often on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. Cooking was, by far, the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings at 74% followed by heating at 8%. By comparison, cooking was the cause of 51% of residential building fires that occurred on all days of the year other than Thanksgiving. (NFIRS Data Snapshot, 2021)

Okay so in this research so far, I’ve learned NOT to leave cooking unattended… got it! I thought that was kind of a thing everyone knew though?! But I digress. Onto the deep frying of a turkey. Now I personally have never had a deep-fried turkey, but I would 100% eat one. (I would not attempt to cook one after my trip down this rabbit hole).  Here are some turkey frying safety tips i discovered in my research.

Here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts I found on deep-frying a turkey. From 99.5 QYK Tampa

  • Don’t use a frozen turkey or a partially frozen one. If you’re not sure if your turkey is frozen, stick your hand inside and feel for any ice crystals.
  • Do make sure your turkey and pot are completely dry.   “Oil and water never really mix, especially in this circumstance.”
  • Don’t fill your pot with too much oil.  “Because if you put a turkey with too much oil into that pot, the oil is going to boil over and cause a potentially catastrophic fire.
  • Do put your turkey in the pot and fill with water beforehand. Once the water is a quarter of an inch over the turkey, take the turkey out and measure the waterline. That’s how much oil you’ll need to use later.
  • Don’t deep fry your turkey anywhere in, or near your home, garage, under a covering, or on your deck. You want to be at least fifty feet away from your home.  “Your porch or your deck is often made of combustible materials and any potential for that fire to extend into the deck or porch area could create a much larger problem for you.”
    • To add more clarification to “near” your home, The Rome Sentinel states, “we would like to remind everyone if they are deep frying a turkey to make sure it is outside and at least 10-feet away from the house, and always use a thawed, dry turkey.” A turkey that is still frozen will erupt in flame when dunked in hot oil.” (Lacovissi, 2021)
  • Do use peanut oil. It will heat faster without burning.
    • Sophie Bushwick for Popular writes of hidden danger to keep in mind when deep frying. Grease fires are the obvious drawback to deep-frying, but don’t overlook another danger: undercooked poultry. You should cook the turkey for roughly three minutes per pound. (Bushwick, 2019)

Reading through these Do’s and Don’ts all I could imagine were videos of frozen turkeys rocketing out of deep fryers (if you have not seen such a video before be sure to check Youtube for a shaking your head at humanity moment).

Alright so here are some more terrifying facts about Thanksgiving Day fires

In FEMA’s Thanksgiving Day Fires in Residential Buildings (2014-2019) for each year from 2017 to 2019, an estimated average of 2,300 residential building fires were reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day. These fires caused an estimated annual average of 5 deaths, 25 injuries and $26 million in property loss.

Additional Turkey Frying Safety Tips

Now you may be wondering, “Okay what if Uncle Bill comes over and things get a little wild and the bird does end up becoming a flaming fireball?”

  • The first step do not drink and fry.
  • Second, keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case, and protect yourself with oven sits, tight-fitting long sleeves and safety goggles.
  • Don’t forget to clean up this mess you are bound to make.
  • You’ll want to make sure to let the oil cool down before disposing of it.
  • Use a thermometer to check that it has reached a safe temperature before beginning your cleanup.
  • Do. Not. Pour. It. Down. A. Drain. Seal it into disposable containers and throw them away in the trash. If you’re worried that those containers will leak, leave them in the freezer until the oil congeals into a solid, then throw them away.
  • Finally, clean the grease off your fryer and stow it away until next year. (Bushwick, 2019)

If you do sustain damage to your home this Thanksgiving, you may need to report a claim to your homeowners insurance company.  Most companies have a 24 hour claim number to call, even over the holidays.

If all goes well you should have a delicious golden brown deep-fried turkey, your house will still be standing, and no one ends up in the Emergency Room.

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Frying!

 

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