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.