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Miami-Dade Fire Dept. Urges Safety When Frying Thanksgiving Turkey

DORAL (CBSMiami) - With Thanksgiving Day just around the corner, Miami-Dade Fire Department officials are urging anyone frying a turkey to take safety precautions so their celebration doesn't turn into tragedy.

Firefighters donned their safety gear Wednesday at their training center in Doral to demonstrate how quickly a turkey and a fryer filled with oil can start a dangerous fire.

Consumer-grade turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures and pose a significant danger.

The number one rule is never fry a frozen turkey. Make sure it's thawed and dray and that the grease is heated to about 350-degrees.

Even following the proper safety guidelines, grease can splash all over the place and start a small fire which could get out of control. That's why you should wear some kind of safety gear and make sure you have everything you need in case there's trouble like a fire extinguisher and not a hose.

Another important thing to remember is that oil remains hot for hours after the unit is turned off.

While they do not encourage novice fryers to operate the machine, they do offer some tips to make sure you and your family are safe.

  • Never use Turkey Fryers on wooden decks or in a garage.
  • Make sure the fryer is used on a flat surface to reduce tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don't watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer while in use. Even after use, use caution; the oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot for hours.
  • Do not overfill the fryer.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don't mix, and water causes oil to spill over, creating a fire or even an explosion hazard.

More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year, according to State Farm claims data. 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. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 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. 

If you don't want to risk getting hurt or worse, the best advice is to just buy a prepared turkey.

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