Fried Turkey: Crispy Delicacy or Insurance Man's Nightmare

Americans love our food fried. The food itself doesn’t matter: Potatoes? Fried. Cheese? Fried. Oreo cookies? … Yes, fried. When frying things met that uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving, a new holiday tradition was born. By all reports, fried turkey is tantalizing—crispy, moist, tender, lipsmackingly delicious. However, it’s tricky to prepare it safely. According to U.S. Fire Administration statistics, nearly 4,300 fires occur on

Thanksgiving each year—many of them due to deep-frying accidents—causing almost $27 million in property damage, not to mention injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission received 138 incident reports involving turkey fryers between 1998 and 2007, resulting in 36 injuries and nearly $8million in property loss.

Why is frying so dangerous? Retail consumer turkey fryers can tip over easily, dumping searing hot cooking oil everywhere. Even if you keep the unit upright, steam generated from dipping a partially frozen turkey can send large sprays of scalding oil a surprising distance. The danger of oil spills is not limited to burns; a very small amount of cooking oil can cause a large fire if it comes into contact with the burner.

Speaking of burns, the sides, handles and lid of the turkey fryer can get dangerously hot, creating a severe burn hazard. So are we to go without our crispy, golden brown goodness? Let’s not get carried away. A few precautions can see you frying safely, come Nov. 27:

  • Always fry outdoors, at least 10 feet from buildings and flammable materials, on a flat surface.
  • Do not overfill your fryer and never fry on a wooden deck.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Get comfortable; this is going to take a while.
  • Keep children and pets away from the fryer while cooking and afterward until the oil has cooled to below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Thaw the turkey completely before frying.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

It also couldn’t hurt to give The Russell Agency a call and review your insurance coverage. We’re always here and eager to make sure you have the coverage you need.

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