Although there’s some debate about whether turkey was actually served at the first Thanksgiving, there’s no question that modern-day Americans are finding new and creative ways to serve up this traditional holiday favorite. One that’s been on the rise in recent years involves the use of turkey fryers. Deep-fried turkey started in the deep South, but has become something of a national craze in the past decade.
Turkey Day: Seven Steps to Safely Deep Frying Your Thanksgiving Turkey
Unfortunately, this passion for deep frying has resulted in a rise in the number of dangerous accidents involving turkey fryers. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, which are the number one cause of residential fires and fire-related injuries. Turkey fryers are playing an increasingly significant role, too, with the NFPA estimating they cause 1,000 fires annually.
“Every Thanksgiving, we receive reports of accidents involving turkey fryers,” said Mike Convery, chief claims officer and vice president for MetLife Auto & Home®. “Some of these stories are quite serious, too. For example, not so long ago, we had a customer whose overturned turkey fryer ignited his motorcycle’s gas tank. He suffered serious third-degree burns and endured months in rehab -- not to mention the total destruction of his home.”
Although using a turkey fryer can be dangerous, there are actions that can be taken to reduce the likelihood that an accident or injury will occur. Consider the following:
01. One major cause of turkey fryer accidents is that the turkey is not completely thawed, which can create a volatile situation. The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing: allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed.
02. Use your turkey fryer outdoors, away from buildings and any material that can burn. Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages. Make sure to place the fryer on a flat surface.
03. Never leave the fryer unattended. If you don't watch it carefully, the oil may catch fire.
04. Never overfill the fryer, and make sure to leave adequate room for the oil displaced by the turkey.
05. Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. And, even after the food is on the table, remember: turkey fryers remain dangerously hot for hours.
06. Always use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when using a turkey fryer. And, even though they may look silly, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
07. If a fire breaks out, never use water to try to put it out. Adding water to a grease fire will only make things worse, quickly, and could result in significant fire damage, as well as devastating injury. Make certain you keep a fire extinguisher on hand, but if the fire appears unmanageable, call 9-1-1 for help, rather than fighting it yourself.
To help people learn more about fire safety in general, MetLife Auto & Home offers free materials, including a coloring book for children entitled “Learn about Fire Safety with the PEANUTS Gang” and a fire safety brochure entitled “About… Fire Safety.” Both are available by calling 1-800-608-0190. Fire safety information is also available at www.lifeadvice.com.
MetLife Auto & Home, a brand of Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company and its affiliates, is one of the nation’s leading personal lines property and casualty insurance providers, with more than 2.7 million policies in force. MetLife Auto & Home is a part of MetLife, Inc. MET, a leading global provider of insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 50 countries. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.