The office of state Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has issued an advisory about ways to avoid cooking fires during the holiday season.

According to Hudgens, 11 fire deaths in the state this year have been attributed to cooking fires.

The tips from his office include:

  • Always set a timer when cooking, so you won’t forget to turn off the range top or oven.
  • If a pan catches fire, cover it with a lid immediately and turn off the burner.
  • Don’t fight a grease fire with water, as it may make the fire worse. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen.
  • Wear tight-fitting sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can contact a burner and ignite. If this happens, remember “stop, drop and roll.” Stop where you are, cover your face with your hands, and roll over to smother the flames.
  • Never use a cooking stove to heat your home.
  • Install an adequate number of smoke alarms. Most fatal fires start between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., while the family is asleep. The advance warning of a smoke alarm may mean the difference between life and death.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.