Are Your Church Christmas Decorations a Fire Hazard?

Churches seldom look more beautiful than when they're decorated for the holidays. Candles, lights, and greenery add splendor to the celebration of Christ's birth. Unfortunately, they also contribute to a number of fires each December. As you haul out the decorations, remember to balance beauty with safety. Here are some common questions people ask about holiday decoration safety.

Are Live Trees Okay in Churches?

Before deciding to use live trees in your church, contact your local or state fire marshal’s office. Some fire codes restrict the use of cut trees in holiday displays. If it’s okay for churches in your area to use live evergreens, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Buy a freshly cut tree. Needles should feel soft and springy and shouldn't fall off.
  • Cut one inch off the bottom of the trunk and place the tree in a sturdy, large-capacity stand with plenty of water.
  • Keep the tree moist. Dry evergreens can ignite quickly if they're exposed to heat, electrical sparks, or open flames.
  • Display your tree no longer than 14 days.

 

Are Our Christmas Lights Still Safe to Use?

After years of use, the wiring powering holiday lights can become damaged. Before hanging any lights, check all electrical decorations for fraying or exposed wires. If defects are found, cut off the plug and discard the decoration. Here are some other suggestions:

  • Use tree lights and holiday lighting approved and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriters Laboratories.
  • Turn off all holiday lighting when the building is vacant.
  • Never use staples or nails to secure the wiring of outdoor lights.
  • Don't link more than three light strands together, unless package directions indicate it's safe.
  • Be careful not to overload outlets and extension cords.

 

Can We Still Use Real Candles in Church?

Today, you can find flickering LED candles that look, feel, and even smell like traditional wax candles. We recommend using them predominantly, because they’re the safest option. But we understand that LED lights can’t always capture the magic of a dancing flame. If you go with traditional candles, use them carefully and sparingly.

  • Place them in sturdy candleholders.
  • Keep candles at least a foot away from anything that could burn.
  • Make sure they’re out of falling distance from any live or artificial Christmas tree.
  • Extinguish all candles when leaving the sanctuary. Don’t forget!

 

If you’re looking for more fire safety tips, the U.S. Fire Administration offers advice on holiday fire prevention, including this infographic and video clip.

November 7, 2023
Three common pitfalls that may be hidden in your church's lease
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One positive aspect of today’s challenged economy is the availability of underutilized or empty commercial space. Before your ministry takes the plunge into a lease agreement, we want to make sure you're well-informed and prepared to avoid some common pitfalls.

Tags: ministry, lease, property
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In this month's perspective on the insurance market, I wanted to talk about the massive upward trending we are seeing in cancellation of policies.  Our agency has observed a remarkable surge in inquiries from churches not currently under our insurance coverage. These churches are facing non-renewal by their existing carriers, a trend that has expanded beyond the norm of non-renewals due to excessive losses. Instead, carriers are now opting not to renew based on the risk profile of the ministry, which encompasses factors like geography, insured value, and construction type.

Tags: market strain, weather, catastrophic losses, renewal, risk
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There are so many insurance policies to consider when it comes to protecting your ministry, and keeping track of each one’s coverages can be a mind-numbing task. One that I often hear confusion about is the Excess Liability policy, more commonly referred to as an Umbrella. While these terms aren’t exactly interchangeable in the broader insurance world, they do have a lot of overlap. For purposes of understanding your Brotherhood Mutual policy, they are basically synonymous.

Tags: ministry protection, coverages, liability, umbrella policy
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In recent times, our team has observed a growing demand for key man life insurance, particularly within the realm of church leadership. Pastors are the spiritual pillars of their congregations, providing guidance, support, and a sense of community. While their spiritual contributions are invaluable, it's equally important to consider their financial well-being and the stability of the church should an unforeseen tragedy occur.

Tags: finance, security, church pastor, community
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The holiday season is fast approaching, and it's time to prepare for the festive cheer, delicious food, twinkling lights, and heartwarming gatherings. But amidst all the joy and celebration, let's take a moment to reflect on something essential - the well-being of our ministry leaders.

Tags: full strength network, counseling, church pastor, pastoral counseling
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Water damage due to plumbing leaks and frozen pipes is a leading cause of property claims for ministries. The damage is often made worse because ministry buildings are typically not in use every day. Last year, nearly 1,000 Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company customers were impacted. To help protect ministries from experiencing costly water damage and disruptions, Brotherhood Mutual® recommends FloLogic, a comprehensive solution that can detect even the smallest water leak and automatically shut off the water to prevent flooding. 

Tags: flologic, leaks, water damage, prevention
September 8, 2023
Fluorescent Lighting: The End of An Era
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Let's take a stroll down memory lane to 1938 when General Electric made a groundbreaking move by introducing fluorescent tubes to the world. Even though the technology had been brewing since the late 1880s, it took time and the genius of several inventors to make it shine as a practical product.

Tags: church payroll, finance, IRS regulations, paying employees, tax code
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We are living in a day and age of tremendous uncertainty. Like Joseph in Egypt, the physical world is incredibly unpredictable.

Tags: church payroll, finance, IRS regulations, paying employees, tax code
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Why Some Churches are Rethinking their Financial Planning
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In the ever-changing realm of finances, the past few years have brought forth a whirlwind of alterations. Looking ahead, the next five years promise their fair share of surprises and uncertainties.

Tags: church payroll, finance, IRS regulations, paying employees, tax code
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HR360: Your Essential Guide to Navigating Ministry-Specific HR Challenges
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In the dynamic landscape of today's world, managing the HR needs of any ministry can be a complex and ever-changing endeavor. Whether you're dealing with sensitive situations that demand careful handling to avoid legal entanglements or aiming to proactively establish risk management strategies, the journey can be demanding.

Tags: church payroll, finance, IRS regulations, paying employees, tax code
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As we gear up for the upcoming school season, it's a fantastic opportunity to take a closer look at the coverage we offer to our beloved students and dedicated volunteers.

Tags: medical coverage, students, voluteers
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Auto Insurance Trends: What Does that Mean for your Ministry?
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Are you tired of constantly hearing about rising expenses? It seems like every time I turn around, whether it's at the grocery store, the gas station, or even dealing with insurance, I'm faced with the reality of higher costs.

Tags: auto insurance, auto, coverage, ministry
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Rethinking Insurance: Offering a Fresh Perspective
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Let's face it, the world is constantly changing, and it's fascinating to witness the rapid evolution happening around us. Some futurists even predict that in the next two decades, the rate of change could be four times what it is today, and an astounding 16 times in 40 years.

Tags: Rethinking insurance, insurance, PC, property, risk mitigation
July 7, 2023
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Pepper Spray Usage
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Tragedy in Nashville
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HR Document Library at your Fingertips
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