The Macomb Daily

Use caution with turkey fryers, state fire marshal warns

- By Anne Runkle arunkle@medianewsg­roup. com

State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer is urging Michigan residents to be mindful of fire safety while cooking this Thanksgivi­ng.

Portable propane fueled turkey fryers — a popular and faster cooking method for your Thanksgivi­ng turkey — pose a considerab­le fire risk if not used correctly.

“Improperly deep-frying turkeys accounts for too many preventabl­e house and garage fires reported each year,” said Fire Marshal Sehlmeyer. “Deep frying a turkey in several gallons of hot oil is a dangerous activity. If the cooking oil vapors ignite, it becomes as flammable as gasoline. Never use a portable deep fryer in a garage, on or under a deck, breezeway, porch or inside any structure.”

When using a portable propane deep fryer:

• Always fry on a flat surface, well away from houses, garages, decks, trees, bushes, and other flammable materials.

• Use a fryer with a gas valve controller.

• Make sure your turkey is completely thawed and dry the turkey prior to frying.

• Allow at least two feet of space between the liquid propane tank and the portable deep fryer burner.

• Only use cooking oil recommende­d by the deep fryer manufactur­er; different types of cooking oil have different ignition temperatur­es when heated.

• Do not overfill the portable deep fryer with cooking oil.

• If the cooking oil begins to smoke, immediatel­y turn the propane tank to OFF by closing the propane tank valve.

• Always keep a fire extinguish­er (dry powder) ready; never use water to extinguish a cooking oil or grease fire.

• Additional­ly, residents are encouraged to protect their families year-round with working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

“We need your help to protect your families,” said Fire Marshal Sehlmeyer. “This Thanksgivi­ng, as you visit with family, I encourage you and your relatives to “push the button” to check and make sure they have working smoke alarms in their homes.”

As of Nov. 21, Michigan has experience­d 111 fire deaths in 93 residentia­l fires in 2022. This is an 11% increase of annual fire fatalities in Michigan compared to the previous fiveyear (2017-2021) average.

Out of these 93 fires, a majority did not have working smoke alarms.

“Each home should have a working smoke alarm in every bedroom and, outside of sleeping areas. They should have an alarm on each level of the home,” said Fire Marshal Sehlmeyer. “Each home should also have a working carbon monoxide detector on every level and outside sleeping areas.”

As Michigan Prevention and the Michigan Fire Inspectors Society (www. continue to analyze fatal fire data and smoke alarm installati­ons from Michigan fire department­s, several trends have been identified:

• 64% of these fatal fires happened between 6 p.m.-6 a.m.

• Smoking was the leading cause of the fires (54%).

• People between the ages of 40 and 79 are at the most risk from fatal residentia­l fires.

“Too many Michigan residents do not have working smoke alarms and, in a fire, that can be the difference between life and death,” said Sehlmeyer. “We have found that several victims did not escape in the first two minutes of a fire due to smoke inhalation. A quick warning from a smoke detector can be the difference that allows residents to escape quickly.”

This Thanksgivi­ng, discuss these safety tips with your family:

• Close a door between you and the smoke if a fire occurs. This will increase your survival time of escaping.

• Develop and practice a Fire Escape Plan. Evaluate all escape routes and make sure they are clear for loved ones to escape if a fire does occur.

• Make sure escape plans allow any family members with mobility or disability issues to escape in two minutes or less.

Visit the Bureau of Fire Services’ website at www.­on for more informatio­n and fire safety tips.

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