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Deep frying: Recipe for disaster?

To stay truly safe this Thanksgiving, ditch the deep fryer. Every year, splattered hot oil leads to tragic, unintended house fires.

We've all seen the Allstate commercial with the guy standing in a leaf-filled backyard by a turkey deep fryer. He tells us that "of the two million people who deep fried their turkeys last year, 15 succeeded in setting their homes on fire."

Great ad, but can Thanksgiving dinner really be so dangerous?

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings each year in the United States, resulting in an average of five deaths, 25 injuries and $21 million in property losses.

To stay truly safe this Thanksgiving, ditch the deep fryer. Turkey fryers are one of the most dangerous appliances on the market. Every year, splattered hot oil leads to tragic, unintended house fires.

"In recent years, deep-frying turkeys has become increasingly popular," said Haddam Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Gary Klare. "Though we prefer it if deep-fried turkey enthusiasts get their precooked bird from the grocery store, specialty food retailer or a restaurant, residents who still choose to use their own turkey fryer should use extreme caution."

If deep fry you must, click here for some safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

But if you're anything like me, the kitchen is your domain, and cooking on the big day means juggling a lot of pots boiling on the stove and switching out hot dishes from the oven. Trying to "do it all" makes it all too easy to turn around and find something on fire.

Less is more, whether you're a seasoned pro or cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. Too much multi-tasking — including too many pets, kids and drinks — can be a recipe for disaster.

To be safe, even if you burn the rolls and set off the smoke alarm, ventilate the kitchen and leave it connected. It's annoying to hear the occasional beep as you cook, but it can save your life, and the lives of your guests. Also, keep a fire extinguisher handy. The extinguisher should be rated for grease and electrical fires. Remember the acronym P.A.S.S.: Pull the pin; Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire; Squeeze the nozzle to spray; Sweep back and forth at the base of the fire.

Another good idea is to clean your stove prior to cooking. Grease builds up on burners and cooktops. Avoid grease fires by scrubbing down the stove prior to cooking.

In the event of a fire, turn off or unplug the oven or microwave and keep the door closed until the fire burns out. If a fire starts on the stove, turn off the burner and slide a lid on the pan.

With Thanksgiving just days away, help keep your community safe by spreading cooking fire safety tips in your community. The NFPA has developed a Thanksgiving and Cooking Safety Tips webpage here. In addition to tips, this resource includes conversation starters, Thanksgiving e-cards, a Sparky Mad Lib and a "thankful" tree.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

 

More information on the activities of the Haddam Volunteer Fire Co. and ways you can get involved can be found on our website www.HaddamFire.com, or look for us on Facebook.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robin Hood November 21, 2012 at 01:18 PM
This is very well said. This is extremely dangerous and it doesn't help that drinking goes hand in hand with cooking outdoors. William Shatner, Kirk on Star Trek was badly burned by his turkey deep fryer and he then teamed up with State Farm and made this video, definately keep these away from the house and off decks etc. Watch this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYkRF_FmD40
Robin Hood November 21, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Heres a FD video on how bad and dangerous they are. http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_708366&feature=iv&src_vid=EYkRF_FmD40&v=ETBD0EqQGoU
A Killingworth Resident November 21, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Ridiculous. Deep fryers are just like cars, bug sprays, electricity, and all the other million things we use every day- they're only dangerous if we don't know how to use it properly. From what I've seen, most of the problems occur when people fill the fryer with too much oil and then they put in the turkey. They don't realize when you put in the turkey it's taking up room inside the fryer and the oil spills our over the top and the oil catches on fire. That is just as stupid as taking a knife and shoving it into a plugged in toaster to get the jammed bread out. Here's a way to stop that- before you cook anything, while it's still turned off, put the turkey in and then fill it with the oil. Take the turkey out and then turn it on. You now have the proper amount of oil that won't cause spillage. Oh, and make sure you do it outside.
Bc November 21, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Ya
Bc November 21, 2012 at 06:35 PM
If you throw a frozen bird in hot oil you should not be cooking
Barbi B. November 21, 2012 at 06:55 PM
OMG!!! A nice leafy-green salad with lots of carrots, black olives, cucumbers, celery and a scoop of cottage cheese is starting to sound really good as a main entree, right now! ....(Okay...and some yogurt and a sprinkle of cashews on top to make it feel like the holidays!)
Robin Hood November 21, 2012 at 07:01 PM
People don't know these things, people do not read or comprehend directions. Turkey fryers are about the most dangerous product to come out in a long time. Even if you follow directions things could go horribly wrong, definately do not let children or pets within 50 ft of these things.
Barbi B. November 21, 2012 at 07:06 PM
...Good advice, absolutely!
Bc November 21, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Nothing like drinking and frying a turkey while playing lawn darts
Robin Hood November 22, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Some thinning of the herd is necessary to prevent starvation and overuse of the environment. ; )

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