Firefighting, Health & Safety

Warning about turkey fryer hazards

SACRAMENTO- The Sacramento Fire Department is urging residents to be extremely careful this Thanksgiving if they are going to use Turkey Fryers. The recent popularity of these deep fat fryers has lead to an increase of fires caused by their use. The Underwriters Laboratories has refused to certify and place their trusted UL Mark on these products because of their potential danger.


  • These fryers are typically top heavy and can tip over rather easy, spilling the hot oil and potentially causing severs burns or fires.

  • Units that are overfilled with oil can have the oil spill out when the turkey is placed into the pot, and once the oil comes into contact with the burner a fire can result.

  • Partially frozen turkeys placed into the pot can cause a spill over effect, also causing a fire.

  • Most units have no thermostat control, which can lead to the oil overheating to the point of combustion.


If you must use one of these fryers, here are a few important safety tips;

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.

  • Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.

  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don’t watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.

  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use.

  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.

  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.

  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.

  • The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator.

  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.

  • Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pots remains dangerously hot, hours after use.