Turkey Fryers Pose Holiday Danger

11-22-06 - Firefighters won't get much of a break this weekend because fires triple on Thanksgiving.

A growing source of problems comes from turkey fryers.

The National Fire Prevention Association encourages folks to leave turkey frying to the experts.

Travis Phillips of Lone Grove has been frying turkeys for years. However, he recently switched from a propane cooker to electric out of concerns for safety. "It gets rolling, [and you] don't have much control; grease splatters everywhere," he says.

Fried turkeys are enticing because they're delicious, easy and quick. Travis barely had time to take his wife for a spin on the dance floor before his turkey was ready to eat.

However, firefighters say the benefits might not outweigh the risk.

Tests have shown many fryers have a risk of tipping over, overheating or spilling hot oil, leading to fires and burns.

"If one does overflow and starts a fire, [it] doubles in size very quickly and can trap someone inside,” says a local firefighting official.

If you do decide to fry your turkey this year, be sure to follow a few simple cooking instructions:

  • If you are using a propane cooker, stay outdoors and away from buildings and decks.
  • Place the turkey on a flat surface.
  • Don't exceed the fill line with oil in your fryer.
  • Make sure your turkey is fully thawed.

    Firefighters urge you to have a fire extinguisher handy and never leave the fryer unattended.

    For more safety tips, visit the related links listed below.