1. Whether you have a wood burning or gas fireplace, get your chimney inspected annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  2. Make sure the mantel and area around the hearth is clear of debris, decorations and combustible materials.
  3. Keep an eye on small children when a fire is burning, and keep them away from fireplace tools. Consider installing a childproof fireplace gate.
  4. Never leave a fire unattended. Remember to put it out before leaving the house or going to bed.
  5. Install smoke detectors on every floor of your house as well as inside and outside of bedrooms.
  6. If your wood-burning fireplace has glass doors, leave them open when burning a fire. This helps ensure that the fire receives enough air and prevents creosote — a gummy substance created during the burning process — from building up in the chimney.
  7. When the glass doors are open, make sure the metal mesh screen is closed. This will help contain the embers.
  8. Never start a fire with flammable liquids. Never burn trash, debris or cardboard boxes.
  9. Avoid using soft, moist wood, which accelerates the buildup of creosote. Use seasoned hardwood instead.
  10.  If you have an unvented gas fireplace, make sure you open at least one window for air circulation.

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