Chestnuts roasting on an open fire are just fine, but make sure you’re practicing proper fireplace safety this holiday season to avoid the possibility of an accident. The holiday season often brings joy and laughter, but it also brings its own share of potential danger. To keep you and your loved ones safe, there are a few things to keep in mind.


Walking through a tree farm while sipping a cup of hot cocoa and searching for the perfect tree for you family is a great holiday tradition. The woodsy scent of fresh pine needles filling your home helps provide a festive atmosphere. But if you decide to erect a live Christmas tree in your home, it’s important to remember that living things regularly need water to thrive. Consistently watering your Christmas tree will keep those needles green and healthy, leading to a more aesthetically pleasing tree for a longer amount of time.

But watering your tree isn’t just about the superficial aspect. Dry, browning needles present a potential fire hazard. Be sure to avoid placing your tree near a vent or radiator. Don’t turn on the Christmas lights if your tree has dried out. If you’re experiencing a tree with brown, brittle needles, it’s time to take it down.

Use caution while watering your tree to avoid spilling excess water, which could lead to water damage on the floor underneath your tree skirt.


It’s important to avoid using indoor lights in an outdoor setting, because indoor lights aren’t designed to handle moisture or low temperatures, which will cause the lights to fail, rendering all your hard work useless. But not only is the luminescence of indoor lights likely to not last outside, there is a chance you could run into a more serious problem with the connection. Indoor lights that have been used outside and damaged could pose the risk of electric shock.

On the flip side, using outdoor lights inside may pose a risk as well. Outdoor lights often burn brighter and hotter than indoor lights and may not have been tested the same way as their indoor counterparts when it comes to placing them inside your home. When it comes to electrical decorations, following the recommended guidelines on the packaging is always wise.


A warm, crackling fire under the mantle is a picturesque scene synonymous with Christmastime. The scene is so idyllic that there are numerous YouTube videos portraying a blazing fireplace with a yuletide log crackling under the flames. But when it comes to an open fire, safety precautions are crucial to avoid the possibility of disaster.

Keeping the area clear of any obstructions is important, as an open flame could spread quickly if it comes in contact with one of these items. Using a safety screen is also a good idea, particularly if there are children around, to avoid the potential for burns. Avoid placing anything in the fireplace that shouldn’t be there. You should never burn wrapping paper, as the inks used can give off toxic fumes while burned. You should also avoid burning your tree or evergreen wreaths, because the resin in these decorations will burn quickly, popping and creating embers that can lead to chimney fires.


If you have children or pets, it’s important to keep your home free of toxic plants. Although it’s a popular Christmastime decoration, mistletoe is actually toxic when consumed. As a plant that’s often hung above a doorframe or the like, it may seem unnecessary to worry about the toxicity to animals or children. But there’s always a chance that the hardware holding the plant could fall and end up in the hands (or paws) of your child or pet. Rather than take the risk, there are many places to purchase artificial mistletoe that can serve the same purpose.

You can deck the halls with boughs of holly, but the berries may be a hazard to both people and pets. If you decide to bring a fresh holly plant into your home, be sure there are no berries attached. Ingesting holly berries may lead to severe nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Before bringing greenery into your home, researching the plant is a good idea to ensure you’re not putting your children or pets at risk.


According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an average of 160 decorating-related injuries each day during the holiday season, with almost half of those incidents involving falls. That’s why you should exercise extreme caution when you’re hanging lights from the eaves of your home.

Before stringing up your lights, make sure the weather conditions are good. Hanging outdoor lights or decorations in cold, damp weather could lead to slippery ladder rungs. Have someone back you up while you hang your holiday lights, and make sure your ladder is level and secure before climbing it. Be sure not to overreach, moving the ladder if necessary to ensure you remain centered between the rungs.


K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in claims negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

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