Biggest mistakes made when cooking?

Albany Fire Department Battalion Chief Kelley Harcrow explains fire safety tips. / Jessica Fairley

For FOX 31's Facebook story of the day people wanted to know what fire hazards they should be aware of when cooking their holiday meal.

Albany fire officials say one of the biggest mistakes people make is leaving the kitchen when they're cooking.

"Too often people leave and become distracted and forget what they are doing and then by the time they do make it back into the kitchen they come in to find a kitchen fire," said Kelley Harcrow, Albany Fire Department Battalion Chief.

That was the case for a recent fire in Sylvester. There was extensive damage to the home, but thankfully no one died. But not everyone is that lucky.

"We've had nine deaths related to cooking fires in Georgia," said Ralph Hudgens, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.

When working around the stove people should wear fitted clothing, as loose robes or gowns could catch fire. Another tip is to turn all pot handles inside so they won't spill over and cause burns.

When cooking in the oven, make sure there isn't anything over the back burner. This is where the air in the oven escapes.

"The heat is venting out of the oven and it could heat up that pot. It may be some residue or grease from a previous time that you were cooking but it still may be enough to actually catch fire," said Harcrow.

If the oven does catch fire, it's advised to turn off the heat and keep the door closed. In the case of a grease fire, avoid water and try smothering it with a lid until it dies.

"If it's progressed to the point where you can't do that then it's a good idea to have a fire distinguisher somewhere easily accessible to the kitchen," said Harcrow.

If all else fails, vacate the home and call for help.

Keeping these tips in mind while cooking may not only save your meal, but it may save your life.