MAYWOOD, Ill., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Thanksgiving has three times as many cooking fires than an average day, but even a turkey fryer can be safe with proper precautions, a U.S. physician says.
Dr. Thomas Esposito of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine said injuries from turkey fryers are rare, but when they occur they can be devastating.
Serafino Alfe was deep-frying turkeys for an annual fundraiser dinner recently and ended up at the Loyola Burn unit with third-degree burns after tripping on a piece of cardboard under the fryer.
"Thirty quarts of hot oil poured over my leg and I basically fried myself," Alfe said. "We were using the older fryers that do not have a secure lid and the gallons of hot oil just splattered out everywhere."
Alfe said he will undergo surgery on his injured leg on the day before Thanksgiving.
To prevent a turkey fryer fire, Esposito advised to:
-- Never use a fryer if impaired with alcohol or drugs.
-- Use newer fryers with sealed lids to prevent oil spills.
-- Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
-- Place the fryer in an open area away from all walls, fences or other structures and never under a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, deck or other structure that can catch fire.
-- Slowly raise and lower the turkey to reduce hot-oil splatter and to avoid burns.
-- Never cook in short sleeves, shorts or bare feet. Wear goggles or glasses.
-- Turn off the fryer if the oil begins to smoke.
-- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Water can cause oil to spill over, creating a fire or explosion.
-- Don't overfill fryer with oil.
-- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
-- Do not use a water hose to douse a turkey fryer fire.