Firefighters Ask: Your Turkey or Your Life?

Friday, November 17, 2017

A longtime regional favorite, deep-fried turkey has become increasingly popular across North America, thanks to celebrity chefs.

What television and magazine chefs won't mention though, is the significant danger associated with deep-fat turkey fryers. 

Your Turkey or Your Life?


After watching the video, you'll understand why Los Angeles Firefighters want you to think long and hard before frying a turkey. Without proper planning, your tasty meal could end in disaster.

The Los Angeles Fire Department is joined by safety experts from Underwriters Laboratories, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Code Enforcement Officers in reminding you to never sacrifice safety when preparing meals.

"We're worried by the increasing reports of fires related with turkey fryer use," says John Drengenberg, UL consumer affairs manager. "Based on our test findings, the fryers used to produce those great-tasting birds are not worth the risks. And, as a result of these tests, UL has decided not to certify any turkey fryers with our trusted UL Mark."

Why a turkey fryer can be dangerous:

  • Many units easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
  • If the cooking pot is overfilled, or a partially frozen turkey is used, hot and flammable cooking oil will spill.
  • Even a small amount of cooking oil coming into contact with the burner can cause a large fire.
  • With no thermostat controls, the deep fryers have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
  • The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.

If you absolutely must use a turkey fryer:

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors, on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.
  • Never use a turkey fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or any enclosed space.
  • Remember that overfilling the fryer will lead to danger.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. Wear long sleeves and safety goggles to protect you from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed. The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird.
  • Be careful with marinades. Remember that oil and water don't mix. Even a small amount of moisture can cause oil to spill over, leading to a fire or explosion hazard.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Frying a turkey requires full-time adult attention.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even hours after use, the oil inside can remain dangerously hot.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby, and know its proper use and limitations. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire!
  • If a turkey fryer fire occurs, have some immediately call 9-1-1.
  • Use your best judgement. If the fire is manageable and you can do so safely, use the all-purpose fire extinguisher.

The Los Angeles Fire Department encourages you to always cook with care!

Share this
Follow LAFD