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Turkey Fryer Safety Guidelines

While a holiday tradition for many, deep frying turkeys can be potentially dangerous. In fact, cooking is the leading cause of fires in South Carolina. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the busiest day for home cooking fires.

House fires associated with turkey fryers lead to injuries and property damage. Experts recommend consumers choosing to fry a turkey follow the following safety guidelines:

  • Completely thaw (USDA recommends 24 hours for every four to five pounds) and dry turkey before cooking. Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
  • Reduce accidental tipping by ensuring fryers are used on a flat surface.
  • Place fryer in an open area away from all walls, fences, or other structures. Never use in, on, or under a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or any structure that can catch fire.
  • Make sure there is at least two feet of space between the liquid propane tank and fryer burner.
  • Place the liquid propane gas tank and fryer so that any wind blows the heat of the fryer away from the gas tank.
  • Cover bare skin when adding or removing food.
  • Center the pot over the burner on the cooker and keep fryer in full view.
  • Raise and lower food slowly to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
  • Check the oil temperature frequently.
  • Turn gas supply off if oil begins to smoke.
  • Do not attempt to extinguish fire with water.
  • Never leave fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not carefully watch the fryer, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Afterwards, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil in the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher and a cell phone nearby.

Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. However, if the fire increases, immediately call 911 for help.

For more information, please refer to the following resources:

For more information, please contact the Community Risk Reduction Section at (803) 896-1250 or

Jonathan Jones,   State Fire Marshal

141 Monticello Trail, Columbia, SC 29203

(803) 896-9800 | Office Hours: 8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. | Monday - Friday except   State Holidays

Changes Due to Hazardous Weather or Emergencies can be found listed at   Status of State Government Offices.