With the holidays approaching, now is a good time to remember that Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking, with three times the average number of such fires compared to the rest of the year.

One of the major causes of cooking accidents and injuries at holiday time are turkey deep-fryers. These oil-filled pots completely submerse the turkey in hot oil, and they continue to grow in popularity year after year.

The National Fire Protection Association believes that turkey fryers which use cooking oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer. These devices use a substantial amount of cooking oil at high temperatures, and they pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process.In addition, the burners that heat the oil can ignite even small quantities of spilled oil. The use of deep fryers can lead to devastating burn injuries and the destruction of property.While the Bernardsville Fire Prevention Bureau discourages the use of turkey deep-fryers, if you will be using one this season please do so with caution and be mindful of the following safety recommendations:

1. Use the fryer outdoors, and keep it at least 15 feet from your home and other combustibles.

2. Do not use a fryer on a wooden deck, or inside a garage or other structure.

3. Place the fryer on a non-combustible, solid, flat surface to avoid accidental tipping or spilling of hot oil.

4. Keep children and pets far away from the fryer.

5. Do not leave the fryer unattended, even for a short time.

6. Use only the recommend amount of oil. If the pot is overfilled, when placing the turkey in it, oil may spill over the side and ignite. Even a small amount of oil coming into contact with the burner can cause a serious fire.

7. Make sure the turkey is COMPLETELY THAWED and DRY before placing it in the fryer! Placing a frozen or wet turkey into the fryer can result in a violent explosion of hot oil, leading to serious burns and other injuries.

8. Have a fire extinguisher nearby – either a Class K or an all-purpose dry-chemical (ABC ) fire extinguisher is recommended. Never use water to extinguish an oil or grease fire.

9. Follow the fryer manufacturer’s directions carefully.

An alternative for those who prefer fried turkey is to seek out professional establishments, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants, who can prepare this dish for you.

Our Office is always happy to answer your questions regarding this, or any other issues, you might have.

Our email address is fireprevention@bernardsvilleboro.org, and we can be reached by telephone at 908-766-3000, ext. 131.

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!

Bernardsville Fire Prevention Bureau