A house with Christmas lights is a wonderful sight, but remember you won’t be able to see your house if you’re in the hospital because of a ladder or electrical injury. ER docs know it well: installing Christmas lights can be a hazard to your health. Our docs see many ladder fall injuries, particularly with older victims who are a bit more unstable in terms of balance. Sometimes falls of this nature can be very hazardous, resulting in serious head injuries or even death. These injuries are very preventable. Here are a few tips for safety when installing your holiday sparkle.
If you can afford it, hire a professional installer.
These companies have all the equipment and expertise to do the job safely.
Know your limitations.
If you’re taking certain medications like blood thinners, stay off the ladder because the bleeding risk is just too high. You might also want to stay off the ladder if you have balance issues or vertigo of any kind.
Watch the weather.
Delay your installation if it’s icy or rainy outside. That can greatly increase the hazard of slips, trips or falls.
You must have a firm footing at all times. Choose a ladder tall enough, that is about 3 feet higher than the roof line. Always secure the ladder on solid, firm and level ground. Can the ladder support your weight? The ladder should always be clear of power lines and doors that could open and knock you down. Always, always, always have another person with you to help hold the ladder.
You may be surprised to learn that ER docs see many injuries where people have fallen through their attics just trying to get stored decorations down to decorate. It’s not always easy to only step on attic studs when you’re carrying a heavy box, and many people step right through. Be sure that you have plywood supports down between your studs to prevent injuries of this nature.
Throw away or repair any lights with frayed wires or broken sockets and when installing outside, make sure you are doing so wearing rubber soles and not installing on wet ground or sidewalks.
These injuries are more common than you might think. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says doctors treat 200 decoration-related injuries per day during the holiday season in November and December.
We know it’s exciting, but try not to go too Griswold this season. Be safe!