With Thanksgiving just days away, everyone is in full swing preparing for the holiday's main item — the turkey.
Thanksgiving is a big day for kitchen and cooking fires in the United States, according to Ouachita Parish Chief of Fire Prevention Dusty Harris.
Harris said using outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that cooks turkey in hot oil is discouraged by the National Fire Protection Association, but if you choose to go this route, without the proper fryer, your Thanksgiving Day could end up in flames, literally.
"These cooking devices can cause burns, injuries and actual destruction of property," Harris said. "The NFPA urge people to use oil-less turkey fryers or look in your grocery stores, especially food retailers or professionals, like restaurants, to buy the deep-fried turkeys from them."
U.S. fire departments respond to more than 1,000 fires involving deep fryers each year, resulting in an average of five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes and more than $15 million in property damage, according to the NFPA.
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Harris said there have been two documented house fires in Ouachita Parish that were caused by turkey fryers.
"One was on Christmas morning and another was on Thanksgiving where the fires started from the turkey fryers," Harris said.
The National Fire Protection Association has released a list of what to avoid when using turkey fryers.
A hot oil spill can happen with fryers designed for outdoor use using a stand. The fryer could tip over or collapse causing the hot oil to spill. Newer countertop units using a solid base appear to reduce this risk. NFPA does not believe the risks of either type of turkey fryer to be acceptable because of the large amount of hot oil involved and around the speed and severity of burns.
In deep frying, oil is heated to temperatures of 350° or more. Cooking oil is combustible. If it is heated above its cooking temperature, its vapors can ignite.
Propane-fired turkey fryers must be used outdoors. They are very popular for Thanksgiving. If rain or snow hits the hot cooking oil, the oil may splatter or turn to steam, leading to burns.
Turkeys must be completely thawed before placing in the fryer, a partially thawed turkey will cause the oil to splatter causing serious burns.
The fryers use a lot of oil, usually about five gallons. Extreme caution must be taken when placing and removing the turkey from the fryer to be sure its is not dropped back into the fryer, splattering the oil on the chef.
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This article originally appeared on Monroe News-Star: Here are the dangers of deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey