Myrtle Beach, SC — No one plans on accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday, but they can happen when people are not careful while cooking. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. Overall, cooking equipment was involved in almost half (47%) of reported home fires and unattended equipment was the leading cause of cooking fires.

"It's important to follow safety tips to protect yourself, your family and home especially if you are using a turkey fryer," states Dr. Radley Short, Emergency Medicine Physician with Grand Strand Medical Center. "Always use your fryer outdoors, wear oven mitts when taking food out of the oven or fryer, keep small children out of the kitchen and away from the fryer, and when cooking is complete make sure all burners and fryers are turned off."

Follow these safety measures if using a turkey fryer:

  • Always use your fryer outdoors, a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
  • Never use a fryer in your garage, or on a wooden deck or other flammable surface.
  • Make sure the fryer stands on a flat surface, to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Keep small children, pets and roughhousing away from the fryer, as even a slight bump can be disastrous.
  • Most units don't have thermostat controls. If you use an oil-filled fryer and don't watch it carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Wear oven mitts and keep the pot lid handy to smother any flames—don't throw water on them.
  • Properly thaw the turkey before frying.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • If using an oil-filled fryer:
    • Avoid oil spill over by not overfilling the pot.
    • Turn off the flame when lowering the turkey into the oil.

"It's also important to stay sober while cooking or frying a turkey outside as 32% of fatal fire victims* were affected by alcohol in SC," states Dr. Short. Ultimately, Thanksgiving is a time for celebration and good food, so enjoy that time with your friends and family by following proper safety precautions.

*Source: SC Fire Marshall 2016 Report