The United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that since 2002, there have been more than 157 turkey fryer-related incidents. These include fires, burns, and explosions or carbon dioxide poisoning. Among the 68 listed injuries, none have been fatal; however, this should not take away from how dangerous conventional turkey fryers can be.
In 2007, a seven year old was badly burned when he stepped on a rubber hose connecting a turkey fryer to a propane tank, causing the pot to fall over and heated oil to pour onto his back. In another incident, a mother and her teenage daughter were injured when someone emptied hot cooking oil from a fryer into a storm drain while someone else poured water from a garden hose down that same drain. The resulting steam cloud badly burned the two.
Even famous actor William Shatner has experienced his fair share of turkey-fryer-related accidents. Click here to see his safety video where he explains what happened to him, and how you can keep safe yourself.
5 Steps to Be Safer When Frying Your Own Turkey
- Turkeys must be completely thawed before placing in the fryer. A partially thawed turkey will cause the oil to splatter causing serious burns.
- Be careful when placing the turkey into the fryer and removing it. Fryers are often quite unstable, and can easily tip over spilling as much as five gallons of hot oil.
- Use extreme caution! The side of the cooking pot, lid, and handles gets dangerously hot.
- Cook outdoors at a safe distance from any buildings or trees. Keep the fryer off any wooden structures, such as a deck or patio.
- Do not use ice or water to cool down oil or extinguish an oil fire. Keep an extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fire nearby.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) cautions against using traditional turkey fryers in the first place. The NFPA recommends using an “oil-less” fryer or purchasing an already fried turkey from a restaurant or grocery store. For more information on oil-less fryers, click here. For information on where to purchase a fried turkey in Richmond, click here.
As always, have a safe and happy holiday season.
About The Author: Danielle Bringard is a personal injury attorney practicing with the law firm of Allen & Allen at their office in Fredericksburg. Her practice is focused in the areas of car accidents, product liability, premises liability, and distracted driving accidents.
 See United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Stand by Your Pan: Protect Your Family from Cooking Fires and Food Poisoning this Thanksgiving Holiday, CPSC (Nov. 25, 2014), http://www.cpsc.gov/en/newsroom/news-releases/2015/stand-by-your-pan-protect-your-family-from-cooking-fires-and-food-poisoning/
 See NFPA, Turkey Fryer Safety, available at http://www.nfpa.org/.
 See id; Eatocracy, The Department of Homeland Security Does Not Want You to Die in a Fryer Accident, CNN, http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/11/23/the-department-of-homeland-security-does-not-want-you-to-die-in-a-fryer-accident/ [hereinafter Eatocracy].
 See Duckmen Si and Jase Robertson Offer up a Serving of Turkey Fryer Safety, PRNewswire, http://www.multivu.com/mnr/56918-state-farm-turkey-fryer-safety-si-and-jase-robertson-duck-dynasty.