PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– Families across the Panhandle will take to their kitchens next week to create their ideal Thanksgiving feast in celebration of the holiday, but if not done properly, cooking the perfect meal could be a safety hazard.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires happen more often on Thanksgiving than on any other holiday in the United States, followed by Christmas and Christmas Eve.

Panama City Beach Fire Rescue’s Capt. Garrett Jackson said a common mistake people make each year is not fully thawing their turkey before placing it in a fryer with oil.

“Oil splattering as the frozen turkey displaces the liquid in the pot which can lead to burns and small fires,” he said.

He also stressed that not turning off an open flame on the burner can be pretty easy to do especially in a hectic kitchen space, but this action could lead to fires as well.

Jackson also discussed the importance of placing a turkey fryer away from any flammable surfaces, and establishing a safety area, keeping pets and children a three to six foot distance away from flames and hot surfaces. He also said that it is best to do the cooking outside on a flat surface, and to never leave open flames unattended.

Another common misconception Jackson said is fighting a grease fire with water.

“That can lead to the fire spreading. Instead you can smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turning off the stovetop,” he said.

Jackson said that if you had any questions or concerns do not hesitate to reach out to Panama City Beach Fire Rescue by dialing 911.