Christmas is truly one of the most wonderful times of the year. This is a time where people are in great spirits, generous, and generally more selfless. Unfortunately, one downside of the season is that our holiday decorations can also cause serious damage. Between 2012-2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 170 home fires per year that started with Christmas trees. These fires caused an average of 4 deaths, 15 injuries, and $12 million in direct property damage annually (NFPA). NCG Insurance wants to make sure that the Christmas season stays safe for you, your family, and your congregation.
Make sure candles are away from anything flammable.
Caution with candles is something most of us practice, but sometimes accidents happen. Taking extra precautions can possibly save your building! We recommend keeping any candles near a tree at least the length of the tree away. In the event that the tree was tipped over, then the candle is out of the way so the tree won’t catch fire. An even better way to prevent a fire from candles is using LED candles whenever possible.
Choose your tree carefully.
If you like to follow a traditional route and pick a live tree each year, there are a few things to look for to make sure you stay safe. When buying the tree, make sure that the needles are still springy and don’t fall off when touched. A dry evergreen can spark very easily when exposed to heat or open flame. Don’t display your tree for more than 14 days; the longer you keep the tree up, the higher the likelihood of fire. Just like the candles, we recommend using an artificial tree. Not only is there a decreased likelihood of fire, but it can save you money in the long run!
Inspect your holiday decorations.
When hanging up your lights, make sure to inspect the wires. If any are frayed or worn, it’s best to exercise caution and cut the plug off and throw it away. Make sure when hanging up your lights not to staple them. When hanging up the lights, unless the package specifies, do not connect more than three strands. This can overload outlets and cause a fire.
Take a breath and enjoy the season.
Sometimes we get caught up in the materialism of the holiday and forget the reason for the season. Practice mindfulness and remember that we are celebrating Jesus coming into this world. As you gather in your churches and homes, appreciate the time together as a family and have a Merry Christmas!