Portland Fire & Rescue Tips On Deep Frying Your Turkey

It’s that time of year again and Portland Fire & Rescue wants to help guide you to a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday with some safety tips and reminders as friends and families gather to share time, laughter, and food. Traditional meals may vary throughout our city, but the dangers of home accidents and fires is ever present, regardless of the meal being served.


Thanksgiving fire facts

  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires with more than three times the daily average for such incidents. Christmas Day and Christmas Eve ranked second and third, with both having nearly twice the daily average. 
  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
  • Cooking causes 49% of all reported home fires and 42% of home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.


Below are safety tips shared from the National Fire Protection Agency

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Avoid clothing that drapes off of your arms and torso while working at the stove to reduce the chance of accidental ignition.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot, and kids should stay three feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks, or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.


Turkey Frying Safety Tips

Please take the proper safety steps if you are longing for the perfectly cooked turkey and are entertaining frying your bird this year. Below are some safety tips to help guide you to enjoying your turkey and avoiding a “business call” from PF&R (or the responding agency at your home).

  • Find the right place. The first step in deep frying a turkey is finding a safe, outdoor spot. Set up at least 10 feet away from any structures like your home, neighbor’s home, or garage. Place equipment on a flat, stable surface to reduce the risk of oil spills or fires.
  • Wear protective gear. Even when you do everything right, oil can find its way onto you. Cover yourself with thick clothing, an apron, and oven mitts. Put safety goggles on when you’re putting in the turkey to go the extra mile. Oil burns aren’t fun, so this can be a big help to prevent them.
  • Make it an adult-only zone. Holidays can mean chaos with kids, extra guests, and pets running around. Set clear rules for everyone at the party to look out for kids and keep them away from danger zones. To be extra safe, limit the deep fryer assistance to those wearing the right kind of clothing.
  • Use a thawed and dry turkey. Water and oil never mix well. When they do, oil can bubble furiously and lead to spillage. Make sure your turkey is thawed out and completely dry before you start frying. 
  • Be prepared. Oil fires are some of the most difficult to put out. Before you start heating the oil, place a fire extinguisher within arm’s reach. If a fire does start call 911 and safely use your extinguisher. Fires are unpredictable and hard to control, so if it starts to get bigger, let professionals help.
  • Finish on a strong note. After you fry your turkey, keep the cleanup just as safe. Let the oil completely cool before you attempt to clean up the deep fryer. Then, properly store and dispose of it safely.

Source: Portland Fire & Rescue

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