PARMA, Ohio - Keeping a close eye on how you prepare and cook your Thanksgiving turkey can save you from plenty of headaches, maybe even serious injury.
The Parma Fire Department issued a strong warning for residents who will be using a deep fryer to cook their bird.
Fire officials report two Parma women died in separate incidents related to cooking oil fires in 2011, and they urge residents take extra care in reading all instructions when using a deep fryer.
Parma Fire Department Captain Anthony Dalesio explained it's absolutely critical that a turkey be completely thawed and dried off before it's placed into a hot deep fryer.
"A lot of times the turkey comes in a basting solution, which is mostly water," said Dalesio. "If you put your turkey in frozen, all that water is still in the turkey, and it could cause a water reaction and flames."
Parma Fire Department spokesperson Doug Turner warned residents to keep their deep fryer at least 10 feet from their homes, and away from children and pets.
Turner explained the cooking oil level must never exceed the "full level line" on the fryer. Residents should first test the oil level using water, to see how much fluid will be displaced once the turkey is placed in the pot.
"You test that by filling it up with water first, and putting your turkey in, and seeing where the water level is going to go," said Turner. "Then you can safely fill you fryer with oil, based on the size of your turkey."
The Parma Fire Department showed NewsChannel5 what happens when a fryer boils over, flames quickly consumed the appliance, and firefighters had to move in with a dry fire extinguisher.
Turner reminded residents they should never use water to try and take down an oil fire.
"Water will only aggravate the flames," said Turner. "Use a dry extinguisher, try to smother the flames, or get away and call the fire department.
Meanwhile the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stressed safety when preparing and cooking your Thanksgiving meal.
With more than 46 million turkeys cooked this holiday season, families are urge to follow four simple steps when making a meal; clean, separate, cook and chill.
Complete Thanksgiving cooking safety guidelines can be found on the Centers for Disease Control website .
The CDC reports 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from food borne illness this year, resulting in 3,000 deaths.