Deep frying turkeys (and everything else for that matter) is a time-honored tradition, in the South, but frying (or cooking in general) is also the leading cause of fires in South Carolina.
Following the below safety tips will help to ensure your turkey frying success and no unexpected dinner guests from Dorchester County Fire Rescue and EMS:
- Completely thaw and dry the turkey before cooking (USDA recommends 24 hours for every four to five pounds).
- Reduce accidental tipping by ensuring fryers are used on a flat surface.
- 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.
- Make sure there are at least two 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.
- Cover bare skin when adding or removing food.
- Center the pot over the burner on the cooker and keep fryer in full view.
- Raise and lower food slowly to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
- Check the oil temperature frequently.
- Turn gas supply off if oil begins to smoke.
- Do not attempt to extinguish the fire with water.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not carefully watch the fryer, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Afterward, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil in the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot for hours.
- Make sure to have a “3-foot kid and pet free zone” around your turkey fryer to protect against burn injuries.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher and a cell phone nearby.
Should your turkey frying go awry, remember, never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher, and if all else fails, call 9-1-1 immediately for assistance.
Questions? Contact the Dorchester County Fire Marshal Division of the Dorchester County Fire Rescue Department at (843) 563-0214.