Frying a Turkey for Thanksgiving??

Turkey Fryer AccidentTurkey Fryer Safety

There are a few basic rules to safety frying a turkey and yet every year there are fires that destroy buildings and houses. The problem as gotten so bad that Underwriters Laboratories’ (UL) has refused to certify turkey fryers. The reason is that most people just don’t follow the safety rules. Let me illustrate with a few examples.

First of all, do not use your turkey fryer on a wooden deck, in your garage, near a wooden structure, under the eves of any building, or anywhere near that nitrous tank you have for your car(?). Sounds reasonable? Well that’s just what one family in Nebraska did. They had removed the turkey from the fryer and left it unattended, not realizing that still hot means still dangerous. The neighbor had to come over to tell them that their garage was on fire and the nitrous tank (really?) exploded just as the fire department arrives. Read the whole story

Second, never leave your turkey fryer unattended. This really is a two person job. You need a good volunteer to do the running while you watch the turkey fryer. Even a few minutes could cost you $71,000 or more. Robert here lost his garage and everything in it, plus did a lot of damage to his house when he ran in the house for a couple of minutes. Just think about it for a second, several gallons of hot oil and a constant burning flame. When turkey fryers get too hot they don’t just catch fire, they can explode. Read More

As John Drengenberg of Underwriters Laboratories described it, when the oil in one of these turkey fryers catches fire “it’s like a vertical flame thrower.” That’s what happened up in Minnesota when flames shot up from a turkey fryer and destroyed a $400,000 house. Just watch this video from Consumer Reports to see how fast and how bad things can get.

Now I’m not trying to scare you away from frying turkeys. It’s a great way to make an incredible meal; however, as Underwriters Laboratories has said, careful use of a turkey fryer is a safe way to cook. The problem is that people just don’t take the time to read the instructions and do not think about what they are doing. A turkey fryer contains several gallons of oil. At temperatures over 300 degrees F that oil becomes about as flammable as gasoline. So, Read, Think, then cook or you could be the next victim.


Help Prevent Common Household Fires

Electrical Fire

Using our claim data, we have developed a list of the most common causes of fire-related losses as well as some things you can do to help prevent them.

Faulty wiring and outlets are one of the top causes of house fires.

  • Check the electrical cords throughout your home for signs of fraying, and replace all frayed wires.
  • Do not pinch or cover electrical cords with items such as rugs.
  • Be aware of the capacity of your home’s electrical system. Do not overload your outlets. If you have questions about your home’s electrical system, you may want to consult a licensed electrician.
  • Understand the difference between surge protectors and power strips – both allow you to plug in multiple electronic devices, but only the surge protector will help guard these devices from a power spike. Use surge protectors to protect valuable appliances, such as computers and televisions.

Carelessness in the kitchen may also lead to a house fire.

  • Never leave your pots or pans unattended on your stove.
  • Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher readily available and know how to use it.
  • If a grease fire erupts, turn off the heat source. Do not throw water on the fire because it may cause the fire to spread.
  • If a fire starts in your oven, close the over door and turn off the heat to smother the flames.
  • If a fire starts in your microwave, turn off the microwave, and do not open it until the fire is completely out. Unplug the microwave only if you can safely do so.

Clothes dryers are another common source of house fires.

  • If you are installing your own dryer vent, follow the directions in the manual. If you are unsure about how to properly install the vent, consider hiring a professional to do the installation.
  • Clean out the dryer vent regularly.
  • Clean out the lint filter after each load.
  • Lint may also collect under and behind your dryer, so do not forget to clean these areas.

Alternative heating sources may also create a fire hazard.

  • Avoid using an older space heater, if possible. When purchasing a new space heater, pay attention to the safety features.
  • Do not place a space heater near furniture, curtains or other objects that could easily catch fire.
  • If you plan to install an alternative heating system, such as a wood or pellet stove, follow the instructions. If you are unsure about how to properly install the system, consider hiring a professional to do the installation.
  • Before installing a wood or pellet stove, check to ensure it complies with the laws of your state and municipality.

Dirty chimneys also pose a fire hazard.

  • Have your chimney inspected annually by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. Have a professional clean and repair the chimney as needed, especially before the cold months, when you will be using it frequently.
  • Use seasoned wood only. Never burn green or damp wood.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash or trees in your fireplace – these can all spark chimney fires.