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State Fire Marshal Warns Turkey Fryers Pose Risks

Safety laboratory says "the fryers used to produce those great-tasting birds are not worth the risks."

With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner on Nov. 22, Washington State Fire Marshal Chuck Duffy is offering a safety reminder to think twice about fire safety while celebrating the holidays. 

The State Fire Marshal’s Office shares the following information from the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) — a US industry safety consulting and certification company — regarding Turkey Fryers:

UL considers turkey fryers to be dangerous to use as they present numerous safety hazards to consumers. "We're worried by the increasing reports of fires related with turkey fryer use," says John Drengenberg, consumer affairs manager of UL. "Based on our test findings, the fryers used to produce those great-tasting birds are not worth the risks. And, as a result of these tests, UL has decided not to certify any turkey fryers with our trusted UL Mark."

Turkey Fryer Hazards

  • Many units easily tip over, spilling hot oil from the cooking pot.
  • If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner or flames, causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
  • Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too may result in an extensive fire.
  • With no thermostat controls, the units have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
  • The lid and handles on the sides of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.

Important Safety Information

  • If you use a turkey fryer, please consider the following tips.
  • Turkey fryers should ONLY be used outdoors at a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
  • Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure the fryer is used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil may continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.

Information was obtained from the following website: http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/offerings/perspectives/consumer/productsafety/turkeys/

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is a Bureau of the Washington State Patrol, providing fire and life safety services to the citizens of Washington State including inspections of state licensed facilities, plan review of school construction projects, licensing of fire sprinkler contractors and pyrotechnic operators, and training Washington State’s firefighters.

(Ed. Note: The information in the article above is from a press release issued by the Washington State Fire Marshal's Bureau.)

dexterjibs November 20, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Yea, just be smart about it and enjoy your delicious, deep fried turkey. What is sad is that one day soon, the federal government will outlaw turkey fryers. Better get yours now, i am.
Question Mark November 20, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Dexter, you look more like a smoked-turkey man ... heh
dexterjibs November 22, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Well Question Mark, I am open minded enough to go both ways. Sometimes I even do a 3-some with a turkey baked in the oven and the smoked and the fried turkey. Turkey is very versatile.

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