Tampa Fire Rescue Offers Tips For 'Safer' Ways of Frying Turkeys
Fire officials recommend buying Thanksgiving Day fried turkeys from a restaurant, but officials know the at-home cooking method is too popular to be stopped.
Everything tastes better fried — including Thanksgiving Day turkeys.
But the National Fire Protection Association discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the birds in hotel oil because in so many cases it leads to severe burns, fires and destruction of property.
The NFPA said the best alternative for fried turkey is to use an oil-less fryer or purchase the food pre-cooked from a grocery store, retail or restaurant.
“But we know not everyone will do that,” Tampa Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Debra Sue Warshefski said.
To reduce the number of incidents, Tampa Fire Rescue Thursday did a demonstration at Station 20 in New Tampa of a “safer” and “a not really safe way” to fry a turkey. To demonstrate both cooking techniques, firefighters wore protective suits — a reminder of the dangers of this frying method even when done correctly.
The “not really safe way” included immersing a still-frozen bird. Hot oil bubbled over quickly. Were the flame source not unplugged beforehand by firefighters, it would have caused a blaze.
Here are some safety tips from Tampa Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Debra sue Warshefski.
-Make sure your turkey is completely defrosted. Oil and water (via ice crystals) don’t mix and oil will boil over and splatter and ignite the flame source.
-Avoid the possibility of the cooker being tipped over. Keep the fryer on stable ground and keep pets and children far enough away.
-Follow instructions on your burner.
Although you may wish to fry a turkey at your home, Warshefski said it is still risky business.
“Even if you have a thawed turkey, someone could tip over that oil — that’s 350 degrees of hot oil burning onto your skin,” she said. “You will sustain severe burns.”
With so many holiday feasts about to hit dinner tables everywhere, this is a busy season for first-responders.
“In Tampa, the number one cause of fires is kitchen fires,” Warshefski said.