An insurance company is using a little fun to help Thanksgiving Day cooks stay safe, given a somber statistic: More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of there year.
State Farm is pointing its finger at turkey deep fryers. Statistics show that U.S. fire departments respond to more than 1,000 fires each year in which such devices are involved, fires that cause $15 million in property damage and serious burns to adults and children.
For all grease and cooking related fires, South Carolina ranks 10th. Other states in the Top 10 were: Texas, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Florida, California, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.
The good news is that work to raise public awareness about fryer safety is working: State Farm policyholder claims for turkey day were carved in half last year.
One effort, a video featuring William Shatner, was a hit on social media and gets a lot of the credit, the company says.
This year, State Farm worked with John Boswell, known on YouTube as melodysheep, to autotune Shatners video in a new production called Eat, Fry, Love: A Cautionary Remix. View the video at thestate.com/business.
The company offered these tips for preventing fires when using turkey fryers:
• 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 spillover by first filling the pot with cold oil and then lower 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 fires nearby.