When you live in an apartment building or condo complex like millions of New Yorkers, you rely on your neighbors to engage in safe behavior. Unfortunately, your often-unknown neighbors could put you at risk of injury by doing anything from damaging the stairwells to starting a grease fire in their kitchen.
As we approach Thanksgiving, cooking fires are something to pay close attention to. Unfortunately, the National Fire Protection Association says that Thanksgiving is the No. 1 day of the year for cooking-related fires, and the U.S. Fire Administration reports that as many as 15 people die every year, on average, from Thanksgiving-day fires.
Most kitchen fires are caused by leaving cooking food unattended, especially on stovetops, and frying poses the greatest risk. As the popularity of deep-fried turkey has grown, fire experts are seeing an alarming trend. Are you considering deep frying a turkey this year? Are your neighbors?
Using a deep fryer for a turkey may be more dangerous than you think, and burn injuries can be extremely painful and even cause nerve damage and disfiguring scars. To help people avoid a catastrophic grease fire from using these fryers, Pennsylvania fire and safety regulators offer these tips:
- Never operate a deep fryer indoors or on a balcony -- only use them outside and away from trees, fences and other flammable structures.
- Keep children and pets away.
- Don't forget the handles and lid will be hot.
- Be sure to read the owner's manual so you know how to set the fryer up correctly and operate it safely.
- Don't use too much oil -- an overflow could hit the burner and cause flames to engulf the entire machine.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry before frying -- water and hot oil do not mix.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher at hand. Never use water on a grease fire -- it makes it much worse.
The National Fire Protection Association considers all current models of turkey fryers that use oil to be unreasonably dangerous even for careful, well-informed consumers. If you're not sure you can operate one safely, don't. If you see a neighbor who might not be operating one safely, don't hesitate to report it -- and have a safe and happy holiday!
- Insurance Journal, "Penn. Regulators Offer Tips to Avoid Turkey Frying Homeowners Catastrophe," Nov. 26, 2013
- National Fire Protection Association safety information, "Turkey Fryers," retrieved Nov. 2013