WATCH: Delicious or Dangerous? Health First and Melbourne Fire Department Demonstrate Deep Frying Turkey Dangers
By Space Coast Daily // November 2, 2023
2,300 fires in residential building fires were reported on each Thanksgiving Day between 2017 and 2019
Emergency Medicine Physician and First Flight Medical Director Discusses Holiday Precautions
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Halloween 2023 is officially in the rearview mirror (insert scary clown peering back in your rearview mirror).
As we officially turn the page to a new month, Thanksgiving is now right around the corner. And with the arrival of Thanksgiving and the unofficial holiday season for many Americans, comes a slew of traditions … including deep fried turkeys.
Health First and the Melbourne Fire Dept. hosted a public service awareness event to help spread the word about deep fried turkey dangers at the Melbourne Fire Department’s Fire Training Center on Hughes Road.
Delightful dish or deep-fried disaster? Well … according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of five deaths, 60 injuries, and over $15 million of damage occurs each year in the U.S. due to deep frying accidents.
Further, an average of 2,300 fires in residential building fires were reported on each Thanksgiving Day between 2017 and 2019, according to the U.S. Fire Administration – with cooking the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires, according to the agency.
So, while that deep fried, crispy, wonderfully juicy bird is such a delightful delicacy, turkey frying is considered so dangerous that the NFPA actually discourages the tradition entirely.
Emergency Medicine Physician and First Flight Medical Director Dr. Larissa Dudley was on hand to discuss the dangers associated – not just with deep-frying turkeys – but other holiday dangers, as well.
“Deep-frying turkeys is very dangerous and destructive if not done correctly, resulting in injuries – particularly serious burns, property damage, and even fatalities every year. We’re here today at the Melbourne Fire Department training center today to demonstrate just how dangerous the practice is,” said Dudley.
Dudley explained that often the first timers – those frying turkeys for the first time, maybe don’t realize the things that need to be done in order to do it correctly. Certain things like having a dry bird – not frozen, but also having the correct amount of oil and not overfilling the tank.
“Burns can be quite debilitating, quite life changing. So those burns are usually very, very significant – if not fatal. How debilitating an injury is depends on the severity of the burn and the proximity that the person is to the fryer itself. So, if you’re very close to it and the oil, the hot oil gets on more of your body, you’re going to have more significant burns.
“And certainly, the longer it’s on your skin, the deeper and the more severe the burns will be, depending on what part of your body gets burned, certainly your hands, your face over joints, those are going to be tremendously debilitating. And they’ll require a lot of care for many, many months to come,” Dudley continued.
And although this event was geared toward the dangers of frying, Dudley took an opportunity to remind the public of other holiday-related dangers – from ladder falls to illnesses caused by poor hand hygiene.
“As families are getting together, you know, common colds and upper respiratory infections are certainly around. So, make sure that you’re having good hand hygiene. And as we get towards the Christmas season, we see people who are putting up Christmas lights on their homes, and we see an increase in ladder falls.
“And don’t forget about alcohol! Alcohol is a common theme that leads to accidents of all sorts – from vehicle accidents to accidents in the kitchen, around the home and … well .. when frying a turkey. So unfortunately, we do see alcohol as being a factor that’s often associated with injuries like this and can quickly ruin a holiday – or worse.”