Tips for Safe Thanksgiving from Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department

Give thanks for safe cooking and avoid ‘turkey tragedies’…

Lowcountry holiday traditions such as deep-frying turkeys and outdoor oyster roasts promise great fun and fellowship, but also bring a high risk of fire accidents, the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department says. Add to that the “too many cooks in the kitchen syndrome” where people become involved in conversations and catching up and then forget about their cooking – and it’s a recipe for holiday disaster.

Each year, cooking fires are the most likely to threaten homes.  And each year, cooking fires peak on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Thanksgiving is the worst day of the year for home cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Unattended cooking is the leading contributor to cooking fires and related deaths. According to the NFA, cooking equipment is the second-leading cause of home fire deaths.

Frying poses the greatest risk, they said. More than half of reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries happened when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.

“A little bit of precaution and care can spare a family a major fire disaster,” the Department said. “If you are frying a turkey, be sure you do it outside, be sure you know what you’re doing and be sure to keep young children away. The fryer can tip over and that is a huge safety issue. If there’s a fire, get out and call 911.”

Firefighters cautioned against using outdoor fryers on porches with overhangs or roofs or using the cookers indoors.

“People think they have a water hose or extinguisher nearby, but when they need it, sometimes they realize they’re back in the garage or put up for the winter. Plan ahead,” the Department cautioned.

The Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department offers these safety tips to keep the holidays safe from fire:

1. Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
2. Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into hot oil can cause flare-ups.
3. Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it is in use.
4. Leave at least 2 feet between the tank and the burned when using a propane-powered fryer.
5. NEVER leave fryers unattended.
6. Turn off the burned before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
7. Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
8. Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.

“Most of the Thanksgiving dinners around here will be a huge success,” the Department said. “Our goal is to help them all be a success – and that means our firefighters don’t have to respond to any emergencies during the holiday.”


If you would like to discuss fire prevention opportunities for your home or business please contact the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Departments at 843-525-7055 or