Thanksgiving Holiday Cooking Safety

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue would like to remind citizens of the dangers associated with holiday cooking. Unattended cooking is a leading cause of home fires, directly contributing to loss of lives and property in our community. Just a few moments of inattention can allow a fire to start and grow. During the holiday season, residents should be mindful of becoming distracted or even falling asleep while preparing a meal on the stove. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue encourages you to “watch what you heat” while cooking. Use a cooking timer and remain in the kitchen.

Outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that cook the turkey in hot oil are a popular cooking alternative during the holidays. The National Fire Protection Association discourages the use of these oil fryers. The use of these hot-oil fryers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and the destruction of property. Some of the dangers associated with turkey fryers include:

  • Hot oil may splash or spill during the cooking. Contact between hot oil and skin could result in serious injury.
  • Fryers designed for outdoor use with a stand could tip over or collapse, causing the hot oil to spill. Spilled oil can be ignited by the propane burner, and the flaming oil can find its way to nearby items, causing a house, garage, or deck fire. Newer counter-top units using a solid base appear to reduce this risk, but the large amount of hot oil involved increases the speed and severity of burns.
  • Propane-fired turkey fryers must be used outdoors. However, if rain or snow hits the hot cooking oil, the oil may splatter or turn to steam, leading to burns.
  • Turkeys must be completely thawed before placing in the fryer, because a partially thawed turkey will cause the oil to splatter or boil over, causing serious burns.
  • These fryers use a lot of oil, about five gallons. Considering the size and the weight of the turkey, extreme caution must be taken when placing and removing the turkey from the fryer to be sure it is not dropped back into the fryer, splattering the oil on the chef.

If you do decide to fry that turkey, do not throw used grease in the garbage and do not pour it down the drain. Let the Household Hazardous Waste Facility clean up after your holiday feast! Residents of Lake, Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, and Turner counties can bring their used cooking oil to 1015 East Chambers Street, just off North Cliff Avenue. Disposal is free, and the oil will be recycled as a renewable fuel. The Household Hazardous Waste Facility is open Tuesday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 12 noon, but is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

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