Reno, Nevada - The Reno Fire Department wants residents to be aware of the number of safety risks associated with frying their Thanksgiving turkeys and to use extreme caution in order to avoid a holiday tragedy.

“In recent years, deep-frying turkeys has become increasingly popular,” advises Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez. “Though we would prefer deep-fried turkey enthusiasts to get their bird from professional establishments, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers, or restaurants, we want those residents that will still choose to use their own turkey fryer to follow these safety tips.”

• Turkeys should be thoroughly defrosted before cooking. Placing a frozen or partial frozen bird in boiling oil can cause a grease flash over.

• Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.

• Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.

• Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

• Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don't watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.

• Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use.

• To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.

• Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.

• Make sure to follow the operating and safety instructions that came with fryer.

Chief Hernandez adds that residents need to remember that propane-fired units are designed for outdoor use only. While rain and snow coming in contact with the hot oil can result in splattering, a higher risk occurs when people attempt to move them indoors to escape bad weather.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property losses.

The Reno Fire Department would like to wish everyone a safe holiday season. For more information on holiday safety tips contact the Reno Fire Department’s Division of Fire Prevention at 775-334-2300.