There are a number of precautions to take before you even light a fire in your fireplace.
Be certain that your fireplace is up to date on professional cleaning and that the damper or flue is open before starting a fire. Check that the chimney is unobstructed even if you have had a professional cleaning. Finally, clean out ashes from the previous fire and clear the area around the fireplace of anything that could be flammable.
When choosing wood for your fireplace, use dry and well-aged wood in a variety of shapes and sizes. Dry wood will produce far less smoke when ignited. It also burns more evenly.
Keep a fire extinguisher in reach and install safety screens or other gates to prevent risk of burns. Communicate the dangers of fire to children and store all fireplace tools, matches, etc. out of reach of children. If you have a gas fireplace, make sure that the gas switch is blocked off