Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How to Avoid Lighting Yourself on Fire This Thanksgiving

Everyone has their traditional way of preparing the Thanksgiving turkey. In Indiana where I come from, my Aunt Polly roasts our turkey in the oven for most of the morning leading up to our Thanksgiving dinner, and then adds all of her special touches of which I am not aware of. Either way, it's delicious. This morning in the office I overheard some of the ladies talking about their turkey traditions, and was enlightened. I had never heard of deep-frying a turkey before! I work in preparedness, so consequently I immediately thought about how much of a fire hazard that is, and I did some research.

So, deep-frying your thanksgiving turkey? Imagine what a damper on the holiday it’d be, seeing a relative accidentally catch fire while lowering the Thanksgiving turkey into the deep-fat fryer. Or imagine the embarrassment of leaving your own family behind, as you take an expensive trip to the local burn unit. Deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey can be incredibly dangerous, but it can also be equally delicious, so consider a few words of wisdom to ensure you spend your holiday experiencing less of the former, and more of the latter.
When deep-frying your turkey, remember not to overfill the drum with oil. You’ll send flames pouring out of your fryer. Also, please make sure the turkey is COMPLETELY thawed before you drop it into the fryer. Dropping a frozen, water-packed bird into your fryer will inherently shoot a tower of fire out into your surroundings.

Perhaps the greatest advice to ensuring a safe frying experience is also the most obvious: do it outside - but not on your wooden deck or patio, and do it far away from anything that could potentially catch fire. Don’t do this in your garage, either. If you’re going to do it, do it out in your yard away from anything that’s flammable that could catch on fire. And by all means, do not attempt to deep-fry a turkey with this type of cooker inside your house. Please, don't be the deep-fried turkey fail. 

Wishing you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving! 

Samantha Minks
AmeriCorps NPRC Member 2013-2014
Preparedness Coordinator
American Red Cross - Kern Chapter

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