Illinois ranks No. 2 for Thanksgiving Day cooking fires

Staff Report

Based on data from insurance giant State Farm, more cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. In fact, grease and cooking-related claims more than double on Thanksgiving Day compared to an average day in November.

With the popularity of turkey frying increasing, more people than ever are at risk for fryer-related fires and injuries. U.S. fire departments are responding to more than 1,000 fires each year in which a deep fryer is involved.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says deep fryer fires result in more than $15 million in property damage each year, and hot oil splatter can cause serious burns to an adult or life-threatening injuries to a child.

According to State Farm Insurance claims data, the top 10 states for grease and cooking-related claims on Thanksgiving Day (2005-2010) are as follows:

1. Texas, 36

2. Illinois, 24

3. Ohio, 21

4. New York, 17

5. Pennsylvania, 17

6. Michigan, 15

7. Florida, 14

8. Minnesota, 14

9. Indiana, 13

10. Louisiana, 12

Most turkey fryer fires are preventable. Recognizing common mistakes is a critical step in reducing your risk of a fire or potentially fatal burns. Following are some fryer safety tips:

• More than one-third of fires involving a fryer start in a garage or patio. Cook outdoors at a safe distance from any buildings or trees, and keep the fryer off any wooden structures, such as a deck or patio.

Avoid a hot-oil spill-over by first filling the pot with cold oil and then lowering the thawed turkey into the pot to determine how much oil should be either added or removed.

Shut off the fuel source or flame when adding the turkey to the hot oil to prevent a dangerous flare-up if oil does spill over the rim.

Make sure your turkey is properly thawed before lowering it slowly into the pot.

Never leave a hot turkey fryer unattended.

Do not use ice or water to cool down oil or extinguish an oil fire.

Keep an extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fire nearby.

To warn people about the dangers of turkey fryers, State Farm has teamed up with actor William Shatner to produce a short video dramatizing an actual accident where the celebrity was burned in a turkey fryer mishap on Thanksgiving. Viewers of the video are encouraged to support “Shatner’s Fryers Club” by simply liking or commenting on the video and agreeing to stay safe when frying or cooking turkey.

From the Nov. 16-22, 2011, issue

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