Cooler weather has arrived in the Foothills which means residents may start using their fireplaces to warm up.

Basic maintenance is the first place to start by checking dust build up and mechanics on gas fireplaces, the plug-ins to make sure they're in good condition on electric fireplaces, and making sure the chimney has been been cleaned and inspected for wood burning stoves and fireplaces.

Ken Thevenot, Fire Chief of the Okotoks Fire Department, says the fire box should also be checked.

"Check your fire box where you put the wood in on your wood stove or fireplace to ensure you don't have any cracks in your bricks or lining because if there are cracks or deterioration of that box you could start fires behind the fireplace," he explains. "On a wood stove it's the same thing, you could deteriorate the metal on that or the liner on the inside."

Thevenot says spark arresters and door seals are other key pieces that shouldn't be neglected.

"If you have a fireplace that you are using just the sliders on the sparks, make sure that they are in good working condition and that it covers right across to ensure no sparks can come out. On the wood stove and fireplaces, make sure that your door seal is in good working condition so no smoke can escape."

The use of fireplaces again serves as a prime time to remind residents to make sure their carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are also working properly.

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