PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Frying the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving feast can be a dangerous endeavor. Many a turkey has gone up in flames after being dumped into a vat of hot oil the wrong way. 

Portland Fire & Rescue’s Rich Chapman has some tips on how to safely deep fry a turkey this year that doesn’t end in a blackened bird that no one wants to eat or — worse — a trip to the hospital.

Remember to never place a frozen turkey into hot oil. Turkeys should be fully thawed and patted dry before they’re dipped into the liquid.  

Setup the fryer in an open, outdoor space — not in a house’s garage. 

An easy way to figure out the amount of oil needed is to first fill the vat to the top with water, then set the turkey inside. See how much water displaces, then pull the turkey out and look where the water line is. This is the line you should fill to with oil. 

Never leave a fryer unattended. 

If something does go wrong while the turkey is frying, do not use water. 

“That oil is what’s on fire and the water just basically spreads the oil even further,” Chapman said. 

He added that people who fry their fowl should have a fire extinguisher on hand. 

Oregon sees an average of 533 cooking-caused residential structure fires every year, according to Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker.

Walker advises residents to remember the following cooking safety tips: 

  • Heat cooking oil slowly 

  • Never leave cooking food unattended

  • Keep kids and pets at least three feet away from hot food and drink areas 

  • Keep pot and pan handles pointed inward on stovetops to avoid bumping them

If a cooking fire does break out, Walker says to do the following: 

  • Keep a lid nearby to smother small fires by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and don’t move the pan until it’s completely cool

  • Never pour water on a grease fire 

  • When in doubt, get out! Call 911 after you leave 

For more information on cooking safety, click here

For more information on general home fire safety, click here.