Decorating your home for the holidays and decking the halls is supposed to be fun, but unfortunately, many times it’s not! Did you know that every winter in the U.S., there are 15,000 people injured trying to put up decorations?
Here is our complete list of safety tips for putting up holiday lights, to make sure you aren’t one of those people:
First off, always have someone close by while you’re hanging lights from a ladder or you’re on top of the roof. There should always be someone around in case the worst does happen!
Then, of course, make sure the ladder is level before you start to climb it.
This is the way the base of the ladder should be placed: one foot away from the wall for every four feet it is high. So, for example, a 6-foot ladder would have the base 1 1/2 feet away from the wall. Also, if you’re using a ladder to climb onto the roof, the ladder should reach at least three feet above the edge of the roof, to give you some stability.
Next, probably one of the most common causes of falling off a ladder or a roof while hanging lights: overreaching!
Whether you lean away from the center of the ladder rails to grab something, or lean forward over the roof, it’s way too easy to suffer a lot of pain for very little gain! Don’t risk it – and for that matter, don’t risk standing on the top two rungs of a ladder, either.
But many holiday-light-hanging accidents have nothing to do with the ladder!
For example, many of those 15,000 people probably got hurtbecause they weren’t aware that you should be at least 10 feet away from powerlines, and from flammable items.
They also probably didn’t realize that you should use a fiberglass ladder for putting up lights or other electrical items, because of the conductivity of a metal ladder.
Speaking of electrical conductivity, you need to be safe when it comes to electrical power issues. You should always check the box of your lights before you hang them, looking for some kind of certification mark from an official U.S. agency stating that the lights have been safety-tested.
Also, use LED lights, or even buy some, because they use less energy and last longer, so they’ll eventually pay for themselves! Plus, strings of new LED lights are way safer than old lights, because your old lights are more likely to have frayed wires that can cause a fire.
Last but not least, do you remember Clark Griswold from Christmas Vacation? Hopefully you don’t run into the light-hanging mishaps from that movie, and hopefully you know better than to overload your extension cords the way they did by lighting up the town!!
But you should know that even if you don’t think you havetoo many strands of lights on one cord, it’s still very possible to exceed theamp limit, which could make the cord melt and cause an electrical short. It’sbetter to be safe than sorry: Take a look at the amp rating and do the math!
While you’re checking on that, also make sure that your outlet is a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which will prevent you from getting electrocuted.