The crisping leaves and cooler temperatures are bringing the scent of fall to the air... and the smell gets even sweeter near the end of the month. Pies, stuffing, and mashed potatoes are being stocked all over the nation for Thanksgiving—not to mention the millions of turkeys that will be prepared for the holiday.
But while many families will spend the day giving thanks, others will be rushed to the emergency room--or even lose their homes as a result of a cooking incident gone wrong. Thanksgiving Day sees more cooking injuries occur on than any other day of the year, with fire departments called to over 1,000 fires caused by deep fryers alone. Texas has taken first place in Thanksgiving cooking tragedies for nearly a decade, as nearly forty people are injured in turkey-related injuries in Texas each year.
Simple Precautions to Protect Your Loved Ones from a Thanksgiving Cooking Injury
Although it may seem tempting to deep-fry the centerpiece of your meal, it can also cause serious, life-altering injuries. So many people have been killed or severely burned that the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has warned against the practice, recommending that people use oil-less turkey fryers if at possible or simply to cook their turkeys in the oven.
However, if your bird is headed for the deep-fryer, there are a few ways to protect yourself against Thanksgiving turkey injuries:
- Planning ahead. Make sure that the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed into the fryer. A frozen or semi-thawed turkey can splatter or burst, causing burn injuries in a matter of seconds. If your turkey fryer is placed outdoors, clear the area of leaves and flammable items, and make sure there is a cover to prevent rain from hitting hot cooking oil.
- Using proper equipment. If the oil is heated above 350° Fahrenheit, the vapors can ignite. Make sure your turkey fryer thermometer is accurate, and that it has a temperature control and automatic off-switch.
- Wearing protective clothing. People have suffered third-degree burns when dropping the turkey into the fryer, as the hot oil overflows and makes contact with the skin. The chef responsible for the turkey should be dressed in flame-retardant clothing, gloves, and eye protection when placing and removing the turkey.
- Avoiding tall stands. Nearly half of all fires ignited by deep-fryers begin in a garage or on a patio, and many of these involve defective or poorly-made stands. A stand that collapses can send several gallons of hot oil flying, and can easily ignite nearby structures. A shorter, more solid support may reduce the risk of the fryer toppling over.
- Isolating the fryer. Many people spend Thanksgiving having a beer around a bonfire, and tossing the football around at halftime. Make sure that the turkey is placed in an area that is off-limits to guests and children, and will not be accidentally tipped over by revelers.
Poorly-designed stands and fryers without safety switches can place consumers at unnecessary risk of permanent injuries, including burns, scarring, and emotional trauma. If you were injured by a deep fryer, you make be able to claim compensation for your medical bills and lost income. Contact Wayne Wright LLP today at 800-237-3334 to discuss what happened to you with an attorney.