Spokane Fire Department warns hot oil turkey fryers pose a significant risk

Michele Anderson, Public Safety Communications Manager 509.742.0063

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at 12:31 p.m.

The Spokane Fire Department (SFD) wants residents to be aware of the number of safety risks associated with frying their Thanksgiving turkeys and to use extreme caution in order to avoid a holiday tragedy.

“Deep-frying turkeys has become increasingly popular,” says SFD’s Community Risk Reduction Manager Jamie McIntyre. “Though we would prefer individuals who like deep-fried turkey to get their bird from professional establishments, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers, or restaurants, we want those residents that will still choose to use their own turkey fryer to follow these safety tips.”

  • Turkeys should be thoroughly defrosted before cooking. Placing a frozen or partial frozen bird in boiling oil can cause a grease flash over.
  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.
  • Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don't watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
  • Make sure to follow the operating and safety instructions that came with fryer.

McIntyre adds that residents need to remember that propane-fired units are designed for outdoor use only. While rain and snow coming in contact with the hot oil can result in splattering, a higher risk occurs when people attempt to move them indoors to escape bad weather.

The Spokane Fire Department would like to wish everyone a safe holiday season. For more information on holiday fire safety tips contact SFD’s Fire Prevention Bureau at 509.625.7058. A variety of community education resources are also available to help meet the needs of both children and adults. Fire safety presentations can be arranged for neighborhood, business, civic, or education groups.