Turkey Fryers Can Be Extremely Dangerous!

An established favorite in the southern United States, deep-fried turkeys have experienced a boom in popularity in recent years.

Many say that the quality is increased when you use a turkey fryer and at the proper temperature the taste is locked within the turkey, making sure every bite is succulent, juicy, and bursting with flavor. One turkey fryer advantage is that they are not just for Thanksgiving anymore. You can take a turkey fryer anywhere there is space to safely use it.

Above all, remember the cardinal rule: a turkey fryer should never be left unattended! Frying a turkey is not like baking one. You cannot simply throw it in the oven and leave it to cook. Many people turn turkey frying into a time to bond with friends and family. Turkey frying has evolved into a social event rather than a conventional cooking experience.

Though taste has been a deciding factor in whether or not to deep fry a bird, certain safety issues arise that should be considered to ensure that your turkey frying experience is a memorable one.

The majority of reported safety incidents occurred while the oil was being heated, prior to adding the turkey. For this reason, it is very important consumers monitor the temperature of the oil closely. If any smoke at all is noticed coming from a heating pot of oil, the burner should be turned off immediately because the oil is overheated!




  • If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out and hit the burner/flames causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
  • Partially frozen or wet turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. Again, extensive fire. 
  • Hot oil may splash or spill at any point during the cooking process, when the fryer is jarred or tipped over, the turkey is placed in the fryer or removed, or the turkey is moved from the fryer to the table. Any contact between hot oil and skin could result in serious injury. Any contact between hot oil and nonmetallic materials could lead to serious damage.
  • With no thermostat controls, the units have the potential to overheat to the point of combustion.
  • The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards
  • Rain or snow will create problems with the hot oil and may require a backup plan if precipitation is in your holiday forecast


  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors and away from buildings and other material that burns.
  • Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks, porch or in or near houses, garages, or overhanging objects.
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Use peanut oil it has a higher flashpoint to prevent overheating and fires! (Make sure no one has a peanut allergy that will be dining with you first!!)
  • Oil temperature should be no hotter than 350 degrees.
  • Never leave the fryer un-attended. If you don’t watch the fryer, the oil will heat until it catches fire.
  • Leave at least 2 feet between fryer and the propane tank
  • Lower and raise the item slowly in and out of the hot oil to avoid splattering or spilling oil.

  • Use the right amount of oil. To find out how much oil to use, read the fryer’s instructions, or:
    • Place the turkey in the pot.
    • Fill with water until the turkey is covered by ½ inch of water.
    • Remove the turkey and pat dry.
    • Mark the water level in the pot.
    • Dump the water, dry the pot, and fill oil to the level marked.


  • 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 from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24

            hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator.

  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire.   If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.
  • Lids and handles can become extremely hot. Use well-insulated pot holders or oven mitts when handling any part of the aluminum pot.


Follow the manufacturer’s directions. If not this may occur!                                                                                                       

Treating a Hot Oil Burn

The hot oil can cause a burn quickly. To treat a minor burn injury, (Remember- COOL and COVER) apply cool water immediately to the area for 3-5 minutes.


  1. If the skin is unbroken, run cool water over the area of the burn or soak it in a cool water bath (not ice water). Keep the area submerged for at least 5 minutes. A clean, cold, wet towel will also help reduce pain.
  2. Calm and reassure the person.
  3. After flushing or soaking, cover the burn with a dry, sterile bandage or clean dressing.
  4. Protect the burn from pressure and friction.
  5. Over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve pain and swelling. Do NOT give children under 12 aspirin. Once the skin has cooled, moisturizing lotion also can help.
  6. Minor burns will usually heal without further treatment. However, if a second-degree burn covers an area more than 2 to 3 inches in diameter, or if it is located on the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, or a major joint, treat the burn as a major burn.
  7. Make sure the person is up to date on tetanus immunization.


  1. If someone is on fire, tell the person to stop, drop, and roll. Wrap the person in thick material to smother the flames (a wool or cotton coat, rug, or blanket). Douse the person with water.
  2. Call 911.
  3. Make sure that the person is no longer in contact with smoldering materials. However, do NOT remove burned clothing that is stuck to the skin.
  4. Make sure the person is breathing. If breathing has stopped, or if the person’s airways are blocked, open the airways. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR.
  5. Cover the burn area with a dry sterile bandage (if available) or clean cloth. A sheet will do if the burned area is large. Do NOT apply any ointments. Avoid breaking burn blisters.
  6. If fingers or toes have been burned, separate them with dry, sterile, non adhesive dressings.
  7. Elevate the body part that is burned above the level of the heart. Protect the burn area from pressure and friction.
  8. Take steps to prevent shock. Lay the person flat, elevate the feet about 12 inches, and covers the person with a coat or blanket. However, do NOT place the person in this shock position if a head, neck, back, or leg injury is suspected or if it makes the person uncomfortable.
  9. Continue to monitor the person’s vital signs until medical help arrives. This means pulse, rate of breathing, and blood pressure.


  • Do NOT apply ointment, butter, ice, medications, cream, oil spray, or any household remedy to a severe burn.
  • Do NOT breathe, blow, or cough on the burn.
  • Do NOT disturb blistered or dead skin.
  • Do NOT remove clothing that is stuck to the skin.
  • Do NOT give the person anything by mouth, if there is a severe burn.
  • Do NOT immerse a severe burn in cold water. This can cause shock.
  • Do NOT place a pillow under the person’s head if there is an airways burn. This can close the airways.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call 911 if:

  • The burn is extensive (the size of your palm or larger).
  • The burn is severe (third degree).
  • You aren’t sure how serious it is.
  • The burn is caused by chemicals or electricity.
  • The person shows signs of shock.
  • The person inhaled smoke.
  • Physical abuse is the known or suspected cause of the burn.
  • There are other symptoms associated with the burns

Call a doctor if your pain is still present after 48 hours.

Call immediately if signs of infection develop. These signs include increased pain, redness, swelling, drainage or pus from the burn, swollen lymph nodes, red streaks spreading from the burn, or fever.

Also call immediately if there are signs of dehydration: thirst, dry skin, dizziness, lightheadedness, or decreased urination. Children, elderly, and anyone with a weakened immune system (for example, HIV) should be seen right away.

Follow these safety tips and you should be well on your way to enjoying a delicious, deep-fried turkey! So you can have it this way.






Information provided by the National Fire Prevention Association and Home Safety Council.


I’m on vacation this week. All blog posts are courtesy of Ken Oswald Safety and Security Manager for Plateau.



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