by Erica Semsch, Ozarks News Journal

Springfield, Mo. – Delicious, but dangerous—fried turkey could spice up your holiday meal, but is it worth the risk?

Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL), one of the world’s largest consumer safety organizations, refuses to certify turkey fryers because the fire risks are too great. Springfield fire marshal, Phil Noah says there are a lot of factors to consider when using a turkey fryer.

“When they occur, they’re generally pretty devastating, because, typically they’ll be out on a deck or something like that. When the oil splashes over and catches on fire, it rapidly spreads across the deck and on to the side of the house.”

There are ways to avoid disaster. Jim Gallaher has used a turkey fryer, issue free, for years. He explains his own steps for staying safe.

“I use mine quite a bit. I’ve used it for just frying up a whole batch of chicken wings and whenever I just want to cook a whole lot of friend stuff…I usually put the turkey fryer on a level surface…concrete. Usually have a fire extinguisher handy—cell phone handy or regular phone.”

Using the correct oil for the fryer, drying the turkey thoroughly and taking advantage of new technology help to make it safer. Gallaher says one particular addition helps him stay focused.

“Most of the new ones, nowadays, have timers on them that—like mine has a fifteen minute timer on it and it will automatically shut off. It kind of forces you to stay outside with them.”

Not that it takes a lot of force to keep you within eyesight of a bird bubbling in hot oil…one that cooks in half the time it takes in the oven.

Fire marshal Noah says, remember, if you do find yourself in an emergency:

“Leave it as is. Call 911. Call the fire department and make sure everybody’s out of the house.”