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Florida residents: Take caution when frying a holiday turkey

Frying a turkey over Thanksgiving can be fun and help provide a family with a tasty and bountiful meal. Especially when the weather is nice, as it is in Florida, families may want to spend time outdoors -- frying a turkey can help families enjoy being outside while still preparing the meal.

But if not approached with care, deep frying a turkey can also result in serious injury. The following are some safety tips that can help make sure that a festive occasion is not marred by tragedy.

Turkey fryers used outdoors, which are fueled by gas, involve the immersion of the family's turkey in hot oil. Unfortunately, the large quantity of oil used in this process combined with extremely hot temperatures creates a substantial risk of spillover. This can cause dangerous burns to cooks, family members standing nearby and even family pets.

The risk that the extremely hot oil, heated to temperatures of 350 degrees Fahrenheit or more, may shoot out remains throughout the lengthy cooking process. Sometimes a fryer may be knocked over or jostled, particularly during the process of placing the heavy turkey on or off the fryer. The oil is so hot that even a moment's contact with bare skin can cause serious injury.

It is also important to realize that the oil used in the cooking process is itself combustible. This creates a danger of fire especially if overheating occurs, such as when heat controls malfunction or are defective. Sometimes a person is as careful as they can be, but a fryer malfunction or defect causes an unexpected explosion.

If you are planning on frying a turkey, take extra steps to reduce the risk of spillage or overflow. Thanksgiving should be a time with family and friends, not a weekend spent in the emergency room.

Source: National Fire Protection Association, "Turkey Fryers," Nov. 7, 2011

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