While coal is one of the most cost efficient fuels to heat with it can be a challenge to start a coal fire. Unlike wood which is easy to start, coal fires require patience and a bit more attention.
Before starting a fire in your stove there are a few safety items to consider.
1. Always verify that your chimney is clear and has a strong draft to draw gases to the outdoors.
2. Whenever opening a door to your stove make sure you do so slowly to avoid and back-flash from built up gases.
3. When handling the door or removing the ash pan always wear fire resistant gloves and make sure you are not wearing any loose fitting clothing that might catch fire.
Here is a video of one method for starting your fire using crushed charcoal briquettes.