Viewpoint: Thanksgiving day poses hazards to more than the bird
by Doug Bourgeois, Beaver Creek Township Fire Chief
I am a traditionalist when it comes to cooking the bird. Three, four or five hours in the oven, the smell of the basting bird lingering through the house as I watch the Lions lose another (been a Lions fan too long).
But my brother and son are turkey DEEP FRYERS. They love to drop the bird into very hot oil and watch the carnage. They also claim that it tastes great and I would have to agree it is pretty good. This method of cooking the turkey may help the taste but the dangers of cooking the turkey this way are numerous. The fryers are so dangerous to consumers that the Underwriters Laboratory has decided not to certify any turkey fryers with their UL Mark. But, If you still want to use the deep fryer, try to practice some important safety tips.
• Do not over fill. 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.
• Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors 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 fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
• Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls.
• 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.
• 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.
• Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
• To see how dangerous frying a turkey can be go to YouTube: “Dangers of turkey frying.”
Remember that Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment with three times the average number. Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are second and third, so please be careful. The Beaver Creek Fire Department wishes you and your family a wonderful thanksgiving.