Turkey Fryer 411 to Prevent 911

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With the nation's thoughts turning to turkey in anticipation of next week's feast, it's time to also start considering... fire safety. You thought I was going to say "stuffing," didn't you?

Hey, don't blame me for being a downer: I'm not the one who invented the deep-fat turkey fryer. Americans of all types - including those of questionable judgment and sobriety - will be firing up gallons of 400-degree peanut oil next Thursday, and you might be sharing porches or walls with some of them. Are you ready?

Underwriters Laboratories (the independent product safety certification organization that awards their coveted "UL" stamp to deserving products) refuses to certify any turkey fryers, citing a doomsday list of potential hazards, including oil spills, explosions and burns. Unfortunately, the UL rating is a private endorsement, and not a federal mandate.

But just because UL doesn't endorse something doesn't mean people aren't going to use it, so if your neighbor sets up on his half of your dry wooden porch with a propane tank and a 4-gallon pot of oil, please share the following with him (partial list reprinted from the UL web site):

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
  • Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby.

It may seem like common sense, but when people are swept up in the excitement of the holidays, sense isn't always so common. Oh, happy thanksgiving, by the way!

Now might be a good time to brush up on general apartment safety. You know, just in case.

Need more inspiration? Read other menu ideas and tips in our Thanksgiving Countdown.

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