WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is issuing safety tips for preventing fires and burns when using turkey fryers. Since 1998, CPSC has reports of 75 incidents that involved fires, flames, or burns associated with turkey fryers. Twenty-eight of these incidents were reported for the year 2002. Here are some of the hazard scenarios:
- House fires associated with turkey fryers leading to injuries and property damage.
- Ignition of oil used with turkey fryers. This was often related to oil reaching excess temperatures or oil contacting the open flame of the fryer.
- Splashing of hot oil causing burns.
The majority of reported incidents occurred while the oil was being heated, prior to adding the turkey. For this reason, it is very important consumers monitor the temperature of the oil closely. If any smoke at all is noticed coming from a heating pot of oil, the burner should be turned off immediately because the oil is overheated.
There is a risk of injury resulting from splashing due to the cooking of partially frozen meats. Thoroughly thaw and dry ALL meats before cooking in hot oil. One reported burn incident occurred when partially frozen chicken wings were added to hot oil in a turkey fryer.
CPSC staff is working with industry and voluntary standards organizations to improve the safety standard for turkey fryers.
CPSC staff recommends consumers who choose to fry turkeys follow the following safety guidelines:
- Keep fryer in FULL VIEW while burner is on.
- Place fryer in an open area AWAY from all walls, fences, or other structures.
- Never use IN, ON, or UNDER a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or any structure that can catch fire.
- Raise and lower food SLOWLY to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
- COVER bare skin when adding or removing food.
- Check the oil temperature frequently.
- If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn gas supply OFF.
- If a fire occurs, immediately call 911. DO NOT attempt to extinguish fire with water.
For safest operation, CPSC staff recommends that consumers follow these guidelines as they prepare to use a turkey fryer:
- Make sure there is at least 2 feet of space between the liquid propane tank and fryer burner.
- Place the liquid propane gas tank and fryer so that any wind blows the heat of the fryer away from the gas tank.
- Center the pot over the burner on the cooker.
- Completely thaw (USDA says 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds) and dry turkey before cooking. Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions to determine the proper amount of oil to add. If those are not available:
- Place turkey in pot
- Fill with water until the turkey is covered by about 1/2 inch of water
- Remove and dry turkey
- Mark water level. Dump water, dry the pot, and fill with oil to the marked level.