Firefighters Across The US Are Exploding Turkeys In The Name Of Thanksgiving Safety


Dr. Katie Spalding

Katie has a PhD in maths, specializing in the intersection of dynamical systems and number theory.

Freelance Writer


Happy Thanksgiving everybody! US Air Force

Ah, Thanksgiving. A time to reconnect with loved ones, eat until you feel sick, and once again explain to your meemaw why you haven’t given her any great-grandbabies yet.

OK, it's no secret that some traditions are better than others. And one that we definitely want to avoid this year is the annual ritual of, uh, burning the house down.


Yes, according to the US Fire Administration, the Thanksgiving Day fire is becoming a tradition in its own right, as the number of reported fires in residential buildings spike by a factor of nearly 2.5 compared to the rest of the year. And the main culprit? Cooking accidents – accounting for more than three-quarters of all reported house fires.

So, to try to prevent the yearly inferno from getting out of control, fire departments across the country have been highlighting the dangers of irresponsible turkey cooking – and they’re doing it with flare.


Yes, in the name of holiday safety, brave firefighters up and down the land have been exploding Thanksgiving dinners and posting the results on social media. Most of the videos focus on the perils of deep-fat frying whole turkeys, a delicious but deadly practice that’s reportedly responsible for five deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million' worth of property damage each year.

Leading the country in Thanksgiving Day turkey-related insurance claims is Texas, so it’s no surprise the Lone Star State got their holiday safety advice nice and early this year. The Texas Fire Marshal posted their explosive PSA nearly a full week before turkey day.


And firefighters in Northport, Alabama show they’re becoming an old hand at this, with 2018 marking the department’s sixth annual “Turkey Fry Gone Wrong Demonstration”.


More graphic culinary tips went on in Idaho:


As well as North Carolina:

The Turkey Fryer Fire demonstration at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Photo: US Air Force

And California:


And for anybody whose local fire department isn’t getting into the holiday spirit, a few national organizations have joined in the fun. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shared their own video on Thanksgiving 2016.

And the US Consumer Product Safety Commission got in on the action as well.


So how can we deep fry our turkeys safely this year? Well, according to the NFPA, we can’t.

“Frying turkeys at Thanksgiving has become more popular in recent years,” the association noted in a statement last year. “However, NFPA discourages the use of turkey fryers, as they can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and the destruction of property due to the extensive amount of hot oil used with fryers.


“NFPA urges those who prefer fried turkey to look instead for grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants that sell deep-fried turkeys.”

But if you’re still determined to deep fry that bad boy yourself, at least make sure you follow one of the numerous safety guides found online.

After all, it’s Thanksgiving. This is serious business.



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