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Fryer awareness: Keeping your holiday safe

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

COAL CITY – Local fire officials are asking residents to cook safely this Thanksgiving, especially if they are using a turkey fryer.

Turkey fryers are more popular than ever and an upsurge in usage can mean an increase in injuries and fires, according to a news release from the Coal City Fire Protection District.

Tips for fryer safety include:

• Always use a turkey fryer outdoors on a flat surface that is fireproof. Make sure you are a safe distance away from any buildings or trees that could catch fire. Do not set up a fryer in the garage or on a wooden deck.

• Don’t leave a turkey fryer unattended. The oil will continue to heat up and there is danger of the oil catching fire. Since there are no thermostat controls on most fryers, the only way to prevent this is with diligence.

• Keep pets and children away from the fryer. Even long after you are done cooking, the oil and pot can remain too hot to be safe.

• Always have a fire extinguisher handy when using a turkey fryer. Do not use water, as it can cause the pot to boil over and spread the oil. If a fire starts and it is more than you can handle with the extinguisher, call 9-1-1.

• Do not overfill the fryer. If you are not sure where to stop when you are filling the pot with oil, there is a method you can use to find out. Place your thawed turkey in the pot. Fill the pot with water until the turkey is covered by an inch or two of liquid. Now remove the turkey. Note where the water hits the inside of the pot. Empty out the water and dry the pot thoroughly before adding the oil. Pat the turkey dry before adding it to the oil after heating. Excess water, like ice crystals, will cause the oil to pop and spatter.

• Always use well-insulated oven mitts or potholders when you need to touch the pot or the lid. Safety goggles are a good idea to protect your eyes from spatter.

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