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Deep-frying your turkey this year? Avoid these 5 mistakes.

firefightersturkey_HP_112222
Haya Panjwani
/
KUT
An Austin firefighter demonstrates what happens when you deep fry a frozen turkey.

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Austin firefighters say they see three times more fires on Thanksgiving than on any other day, which seems fitting since Texas is one of the country's leader in Thanksgiving Day grease fires.

To help prevent these fires, the department is showing folks how to NOT deep-fry a turkey. On average, deep-fryer fires cause five deaths, 60 injuries and $15 million in property damage each year.

1. Don't put too much oil in the pot.

Put only enough oil to submerge the turkey. If you put the turkey in your oil and the oil overflows, the grease and flame under your pot can interact and cause a larger fire.

2. Completely thaw your turkey before deep-frying it.

Water and oil don't react well when mixed. So by making sure your turkey is completely thawed before deep-frying, you can (try to) avoid catastrophe.

Austin Fire recommends thawing your turkey in the fridge for no less than three days to ensure there's no water on the bird before you fry it.

Flames shoot up from a pot in a parking lot as a firetruck stands by
Haya Panjawani
/
KUT
A turkey catches on fire during a demonstration by the Austin Fire Department.

3. Keep a safe distance from structures.

If you're deep-frying your turkey in your backyard, set up your pot far away from your home. If your turkey were to catch fire, it should be far enough away that the wind is unable to sway flames in the direction of your home.

4. Don't mix oil and water.

Again, oil and water don't mix well together. If a fire does happen to start in your kitchen or backyard, don't put the fire out with water. Use a fire extinguisher and cover the flames with a metal baking sheet or lid.

Make sure the fire extinguisher in your home or apartment complex is up to code. The management of your apartment complex should be able to provide you with a new extinguisher if not.

5. Don't leave your cooking unattended.

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of Thanksgiving fires, especially when deep-frying items. If you're cooking with grease on a stove with an open flame, keep an eye on your cooking.

Practice these safety tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving without a visit from the fire department.

Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter, with a focus on Travis County. Got a tip? Email her at hpanjwani@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @hayapanjw.
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