OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready warns Oklahomans of the potential for cooking fires this holiday season

“Thanksgiving is almost here and by now many of you are either thawing your turkey or packing the car for a family trip,” he said. “According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are three times as many home cooking fires on Thanksgiving than any other day.”

The commissioner said, in 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day.

“Many Oklahomans may be considering deep-frying the holiday bird, but that method can present some serious dangers,” Mulready said. “NFPA says deep fryer fires result in more than $15 million in property damage every year. While your homeowners’ policy will cover losses related to a home fire, preventing a fire is much simpler than having to file a claim.”

He said those who choose to use a turkey fryer should consider the following NFPA safety tips:

• Preparation is key: Make sure your bird is completely thawed and dry. Extra water will cause the oil to bubble furiously and spill over. If oil spills from the fryer onto the burner, it can cause a fire. Make sure to slowly lower the turkey into the pot to prevent oil from splashing.

• Stay away from the house: Make sure to use the fryer outdoors. Set up the turkey fryer more than 10 feet away from your home and keep children and pets away. Never walk away while cooking your bird. Unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in cooking-related fires and deaths.

• Handle with care: Use caution when touching the turkey fryer as the lid and handle can become very hot and could cause burns. Also, be sure to keep track of the oil’s temperature, as many fryers do not have their own thermostats.

• Be prepared: Have a multipurpose, dry-powdered fire extinguisher ready always, in case the oil ignites. Oil and water don’t mix. Never use water to cool down oil or extinguish a grease fire. In case of a fire, immediately call 911 for help.

“NFPA strongly discourages the use of turkey fryers. I understand they taste great, but perhaps you should consider getting a deep-fried turkey from a grocery store, food retailer or restaurant just to be safe,” Mulready said.

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Rains is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @cassrains.
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