With the stove heating up for holiday cooking, houses lit up with Christmas decorations and temperatures dropping fire departments ask residents to be alert to fire danger.

North 19 Fire Chief Bob Morris said if ypu  like to put a log on the fire on a chilly night and plan on using your fire place, be sure the chimney is cleaned out.

When cooking the Thanksgiving meal, be careful to never leave the kitchen unattended. Firefighters warn that kitchen isn't the place for young children when the meals are being prepared. Hot liquid and food burns often occur when children pull hanging tablecloths or place-mats. Not only can accidents cause fires, but injuries happen involving hot utensils or grease.

Residents are already putting out their Christmas decorations and that usually means strands of lights inside and outside the home.

"A metal roof is not conducive to exterior lights," Morris said. "With the wiring, if it gets cut, you could have an electrified building which isn't a good thing to happen to you.."

If you see any indication of a problem that might be a sign of fire danger call for help to have it checked out.

"Hopefully, first responders can get there early enough to make a real difference," Morris said.

If you use a live Christmas tree, keep it moist. Once it dries out it becomes a fire hazard.

"They can go up in a hurry," Morris said.

One thing people don't think about is the danger of an overheated dryer vent.

"If the lint catcher gets clogged up and the vent outside gets iced over, that can be really bad," Morris said.

Morris said prevention is all the more important today than a few years ago. Materials used in building homes and furniture today can ignite much quicker.

"You used to have an average of about 20 minutes to get out of your house in a fire," Morris said. "The standard now is three or four minutes. People think they can work on the fire themselves without calling for help, but they don't have that much time anymore."

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