The arrival of cooler temperatures means it`s time to do a safty check on your fireplaces and wood stoves. The Missouri Insurance Industry has compiled a list of basic safety precautions for maintaining your fireplace of wood stove. Fireplace: -Use a good-quality metal screen and keep it closed when the fireplace is in use. -Clear a three-foot area around and to the sides of the fireplace of anything that burns. -Do not refresh a fire with flammable or combustible liquids. -Never burn charcoal in a fireplace. -Inspect your fireplace and chimney once a year. -Keep the damper adjusted for sufficient draft to remove all smoke and gases. -Use only a metal container to dispose of ashes and embers. Wood Stove: -Make sure the stove has been approved by a testing laboratory. -Place the unit on a nonflammable base so that coals or sparks cannot spill onto the floor. -Protect flammable walls or ceilings by maintaining adequate distances from the stove or pipes, or by using a heat shield. -Never overfill or overfire the wood stove. -Do not burn trash in wood stoves. -Never put water on the outside of a wood stove. -Use a 25 lb. dry chemical fire extinguisher in case of a flue fire.