Thanksgiving and Turkey Fryer Safety

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November 20, 2018
Kittitas County, WA - 11/20/2018 - Message from the Fire Marshal about Thanksgiving and cooking safety.

This Thursday, many families will be together preparing old recipes, baking cakes, pies, cookies, and celebrating the holiday.  I wanted to share some information for the Thanksgiving holiday:

Followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, including the day before Thanksgiving as people are preparing food.

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reports that fire departments across the country responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving day, where cooking equipment was involved in nearly half of all reported residential fires.

Safety tips:
  • Stay in the kitchen while food is on the stovetop to monitor the food
  • Don't leave home while the turkey is cooking, check on it periodically
  • Keep children away from the stove by at least 3 feet
  • Be aware of hot steam and splashing fluids
  • Keep the floor clear of any trip hazards
  • Don't leave knives within reach of children
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children
  • Use extreme caution if you are using candles
  • This is a good time to test smoke alarms

Turkey Fryers

The NFPA advises that oil-based turkey fryers are not suitable for safe use.  These cookers use a large amount of cooking oil at high temperatures.  Models currently available retail pose a serious danger with the potential of hot oil being released during the cooking process.  I have responded to numerous residential fires started by oil turkey fryers on decks and patios. Spilled oil can be ignited and lead to a house fire and serious burns or other injury.  It is recommended that if you prefer an oil-fried turkey, have it professionally cooked for you at an establishment such as a restaurant or grocery store.  An alternative available are oil-less fryers than use a heat lamp and convection to cook the turkey.

Have a safe Thanksgiving!

Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at
For more information:
Patrick Nicholson, Fire Marshal