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Thanksgiving Remains Most Dangerous Day for Cooking Fires

November 15, 2012
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  11/16/12 More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. In fact, grease and cooking-related claims more than double on Thanksgiving Day compared to an average day in November.

With the popularity of turkey frying, people are at risk for fryer related fires and injuries. U.S. fire departments are responding to more than 1,000 fires each year in which a deep fryer is involved. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says deep fryer fires result in more than $15 million in property damage each year and hot oil splatter can cause serious burns to an adult or life threatening injuries to a child.

According to State Farm, the top 10 states for grease and cooking-related claims on Thanksgiving Day for the past five years (2007-2011) are:

1.      Texas                19

2.      Illinois              18

3.      New York         18

4.      Ohio                  13

5.      Florida              13

6.      California          12

7.      Louisiana          12

8.      Pennsylvania    12

9.      Minnesota         11

10.    South Carolina  11     

Most turkey fryer fires are preventable. Recognizing common mistakes is a critical step in reducing your risk of a fire or potentially fatal burns.

  • More than one-third of fires involving a fryer start in a garage or patio. Cook outdoors at a safe distance from any buildings or trees and keep the fryer off any wooden structures, such as a deck or patio.
  • Avoid a hot oil spill over by first filling the pot with cold oil and then lower the thawed turkey into the pot to determine how much oil should be either added or removed.
  • Shut off the fuel source or flame when adding the turkey to the hot oil to prevent a dangerous flare-up if oil does spill over the rim.
  • Make sure your turkey is properly thawed before lowering it slowly into the pot.
  • Never leave a hot turkey fryer unattended.
  • 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.
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