This is the holiday when the most house fires occur

AOL.com editors

While the winter holidays may mean more time to spend with family and friends, there are also, unfortunately, significantly more house fires nationwide, about 47,000, and more than 500 deaths annually according to the American Red Cross. 

The fires that result from home cooking are the most common ... especially on Thanksgiving (followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve). But there are ways you can avoid being the next victim.

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First, you should keep a watchful eye on the kitchen. The National Fire Protection Association advises chefs to always remain in the kitchen when they are cooking food. 

Also, anything remotely flammable should be kept far away from the stove. And most importantly -- if you are tired or consume alcohol don’t use the stove at all. 

When it comes to decor, only buy flameless candles. Make sure heating devices are nowhere near the Christmas tree and make sure to inspect and clean your fireplace. 

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Then there is fire safety 101 that many forget about. If your smoke detector is not working, you are much more likely to not get out of your house during a fire. Check it. Then check it twice. 

Finally have an escape plan in place at your home. Peter Duncanson, a disaster restoration expert, revealed the best way to plan your escape route:

The best way to begin, he said, is to "map out the rooms of your home and identify the closest exits and exit routes." 

It's also not a bad idea to keep copies of the escape route in every room of your home, so you know you're prepared when disaster strikes. 

For more on keeping safe this holiday season, check out the slideshow above.