Tips to avoid deep trouble if deep-frying bird

Officials say fire is common occurrence when precautions aren’t taken 

Image 1The Pennsylvania Insurance Department and the Office of the State Fire Commissioner are cautioning consumers to be extra careful if deep-frying a turkey is part of your Thanksgiving celebration.

While a tasty alternative to the traditional roasted main course, deep-frying a turkey without taking precautions can lead to fire and serious injury. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports that nearly 4,300 fires occur on Thanksgiving, causing 15 deaths and almost $27 million in property damage, many of them due to deep-frying accidents.

Here are some safety recommendations:

  • Read owner’s manual for proper set up.
  • Completely thaw the bird before frying (hot oil and water do not mix).
  • Use the correct amount of oil. If overfilled, the oil may spill out of the pot and hit the burner, causing the unit to ignite.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Many don’t have thermostat controls to prevent overheating of the oil to the point it ignites.
  • Keep children and pets away from the fryer.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish an oil fire.
  • Lid and handles of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
  • Do not deep-fry your turkey inside your garage, on your porch, or inside your home.
  • Use your fryer outside, away from trees, walls, fences and other structures.

Although homeowner policies will cover things like the structure of a home, personal belongings, and liability protection against bodily injury to guests, it is best to do what you can to avoid needing that protection.

For more information on homeowners insurance, or to download a fact sheet on turkey fryer safety, visit For more fire safety tips, visit


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