Turkey Fryer Mishaps Can Cause Serious Burns

Expert offers tips on using these devices safely

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THURSDAY, Nov. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Celebration can quickly turn to tragedy if popular turkey fryers are misused on Thanksgiving Day, experts say.

Over the last decade, more than 141 serious fires and hot-oil burns have occurred while people were using turkey fryers, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"I have actually cared for a patient who tried to deep fry the turkey indoors, which absolutely should not be done in any circumstances," Dr. Arthur Sanford, a burn surgeon at Loyola University Health System, said in a university news release.

"And I cannot stress enough that the turkey must be moisture-free. A frozen turkey in hot oil is a recipe for tragedy," he added.

Sanford offered a number of other safety tips for people using turkey fryers:

  • Purchase a newer fryer that has a sealed lid to prevent oil spills.
  • Place the fryer in an open area away from all walls, fences or other structures. Never use the fryer in, on or under a garage, carport, porch, deck or any other structure that can catch fire. Keep the fryer in full view while the burner is on and keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
  • Do not cook in short sleeves, shorts or bare feet. Cover all bare skin when dunking or removing the turkey. Wear goggles or glasses to protect your eyes.
  • Make sure the turkey is fully thawed and dry when placed in the hot oil. Water can cause the oil to spill over, triggering a fire or explosion. Be careful with marinades.
  • Don't overfill the fryer with oil. Slowly raise and lower the turkey to reduce hot-oil splatters and to prevent burns. Turn off the fryer immediately if the oil starts to overheat.
  • If the turkey fryer catches fire, do not use water to try to douse it. Have a fire extinguisher appropriate for oil fires with you when using a turkey fryer and familiarize yourself with the extinguisher beforehand.
  • If you or someone else suffers a burn, get immediate medical aid.
  • Don't drink alcohol before or while using a turkey fryer. Wait until dinner to have a drink.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips for the safe preparation of your holiday meal.

SOURCE: Loyola University, news release, Nov. 18, 2014

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