Health & Safety

November 15, 2013

Thanksgiving Safety Tips from the U.S. Fire Administration

John Martin
March Field Fire Prevention Bureau

As with many holidays, fire incidents increase on Thanksgiving Day. Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL), considers turkey fryers to be dangerous and present numerous hazards to consumers. Last year, nearly 4,300 fires occurred on Thanksgiving Day, causing 15 deaths and property damage in excess of $27 million. Thanksgiving Day has more than double the number of residential cooking fires than an average day. Food left unattended is the leading factor in the ignition of residential cooking fires.

Here are things that can be done to minimize or better yet, eliminate cooking hazards associated with turkey fryers:

  • Always keep fryers outdoors and a safe distance from your home or other structures.
  • Ensure they are on a level surface to reduce accidental tip over.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Do not overfill the fryer with oil.
  • Use oven mitts or potholders when handling the pot or handles.
  • Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatters.
  • Ensure the turkey is completely thawed before cooking.
  • Keep an all-purpose (ABC rating) fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water.

Here are some general cooking practices should be followed as well:

  • Don’t wear baggy or loose clothing, as it can come in contact with the burners.
  • If your clothes do catch fire, use the stop, drop, and roll technique repeatedly.
  • Use a timer to remind you of cooking times. Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Ensure an all-purpose (ABC rating) fire extinguisher is on hand.

The holiday season is fast approaching. It’s a time to gather with family and friends. With a little preparation and knowledge, we can get through it safely and without incident. Don’t be among the statistics. Happy Thanksgiving!




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