Thanksgiving produces more cooking fires, according to insurance claims, than any other day of the year, and South Carolinians are starting many of them. According to State Farm claims data, grease and cooking-related claims more than double on Thanksgiving Day compared to an average day in November. South Carolina ranked in the top 10 states for cooking fires according to claims made over the past five years. While turkey frying is very popular, it puts people at risk for fryer related fires and injuries. In fact, fire departments across the U.S. respond to more than 1,000 fires each year where a deep fryer is involved. The National Fire Protection Association reports that deep fryer fires cause more than $15 million in property damage each year, not to mention the burn dangers related to splattered grease.
If you are deep frying your turkey this Thanksgiving, it is recommended you follow these federal government steps to maximize safety and minimize the risk of the fire and injuries:
- Use turkey fryers outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other combustible materials.
- Always follow manufacturer's instructions on the set-up and use of the fryer.
- Inspect the propane tank and all associated tubes and connections to ensure there are no leaks of the flammable gas.
- Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
- Make sure 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 do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
- To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.