While deep-fried turkey can be a delicious Thanksgiving treat, it can also cause the kind of holiday tragedy that your family wants to avoid.
There have been 111 reports of turkey fryer accidents -- including flames, fires, and serious burns -- since 1998, but the incidents haven't hurt turkey fryer sales. More than 1 million turkey fryers were sold last year alone.
Yet, the threat of injury and property damage prompted one of the largest insurance companies to run a cautionary nationwide ad about turkey frying dangers.
If you are planning on frying your turkey, you should note the following:
• Follow your turkey fryer's guidelines word for word. Do not ignore any safety warnings in the directions.
• Look for a fryer with four or more legs. This will make the fryer more stable.
• Never put a turkey that's not completely thawed in a fryer. Water from a semi-frozen bird reacts with the oil, causing it to literally explode out of the pot.
• Always keep your fryer in full view while burner is on.
• Leave space -- at least two feet -- between a liquid propane tank and fryer burner.
• Always wear protective gloves that cover your hands and arms when adding or removing food.
• Make sure the pot is properly centered over the burner on the cooker.
• Keep close tabs on fryer oil temperature during frying. Do not let it get above the recommended temperature. If oil begins to smoke, the oil is overheated.
• If a fire breaks out, call 911 and get the professionals there immediately. You should not attempt to put out a huge oil fire by yourself.
For more information on turkey frying, please visit the following Web sites:
• The U.S.Consumer Product Safety Commission: www.consumer.gov/productsafety.htm
• Underwriters Laboratories Inc: www.ul.com/consumers/turkeys.html
• The National Fire Protection Association: www.nfpa.org