FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 17, 2016


Trenton, NJ – In advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Fire Safety, in cooperation with fire departments and fire officials statewide, is issuing an annual reminder to use extreme caution when using turkey fryers.

Propane-fired turkey fryers, which allows for the deep frying of large turkeys, is an increasingly popular way to prepare the traditional meal. A key feature of the preparation process is that the turkey or wild fowl is immersed in cooking oil and, in some cases, directly from the store freezer. Following proper usage guidelines is important to avoiding serious accidents.

“Plunging a frozen turkey into a hot, oil-filled fryer canister is similar to dropping any solid object into water, however it is not simply a splash of water you receive but a bath of super-heated cooking oil,” said Division of Fire Safety Acting Director and New Jersey State Fire Marshal, William Kramer, Jr. “This can result in severe burns, or, if it reaches the propane burner below, an ensuing fire and explosion.”

For those opting to use a turkey fryer, Kramer notes the following guidelines to be aware of: 

  • The lid and the handles can become dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
  • Turkey fryers typically have no thermostatic control, so the threat of overheating the oil is ever-present.
  • Many units are manufactured as tripods. Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

Consumers who are planning on using the units or actively shopping for one should keep the following in mind:

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
  • Never use turkey fryers under an overhang, in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. 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 do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code and other community risk reduction strategies, as well as certification and ongoing training for the state career and volunteer firefighter corps.

Use the following link to view Turkey Fryer Safety videos: Turkey Fryer Safety Videos

Tammori Petty
or Emike Omogbai
(609) 292-6055