Frying a turkey? 5 safety reminders before you cook your bird

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No one ever thinks it will happen to them, but Jacksonville Fire and Rescue said it receives calls on Thanksgiving Day all the time about fires or burns from a turkey frying accident.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment.

To avoid a visit from firefighters or to the emergency room, here are 5 reminders from Randy Wyse, President of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, who walked us through a demonstration of what happens if you fry a turkey that is frozen or not completely dethawed.

Water or ice added to hot oil can cause a flash fire. This fire can shoot up several feet igniting anything above it.

  • Make sure your turkey is completely thawed before dipping it into an oil fryer
  • Pat the outside of the turkey to make sure it is dry to avoid a flash fire from the reaction of the water to the oil
  • Check to ensure the fryer is on stable ground; concrete or a flat grass area is best to prevent it from tipping
  • Do not overfill your pot with oil, which can send hot oil spilling over the side when the turkey is added to the pot
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close, in case a fire starts

CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis also advised keeping children away while cooking. Hot surfaces, such as a stove, can cause serious injury. Additionally, steam and splashes can also be dangerous if hot food or liquid is spilled.

Additionally, the NFPA recommends you test your smoke alarm at least once a month and replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

“Thanksgiving is one of the best times of the year to spend with family and friends, please don’t let a botched turkey fry or a kitchen fire get in the way of that,” Patronis said. “These types of cooking fires are extremely hazardous, and all Floridians need to be sure that they are constantly supervising their cooks, and are following these critical fire safety tips so you and your family can have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.”

Click the play button below to see what happened in 2021 when JFRD demonstrated adding a frozen turkey to an oil fryer:

News4JAX's Melanie Lawson shows us what could happen if you don't thaw your turkey completely.

About the Author:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.