Light up the Night Safely
Putting Christmas lights on the exterior of your home is a tradition for many people. It’s a way to say, “Hey, it’s Christmastime. Let’s celebrate!” Unfortunately, the process of hanging Christmas lights up outside causes thousands of injuries each year. So while you may only think keeping your home safe is just about turning on an alarm, security for your home and family involves so much more.
Here, we share some tips for lighting up your holidays safely.
Assess Your Skill Level
Statistics have shown that the majority of injuries from hanging lights are from slips and falls, and usually result in broken bones, cuts and scrapes. Some of these mishaps, however, are more serious and lead to back and neck injuries.
The first step to ensure that you don’t become one of these statistics is to really assess what you are physically able to do. If you are overweight, have balance problems, or have a fear of heights, climbing up a ladder to attach lights to your gutters may not be an option. Common sense is your best defense against injury.
Watch the Weather
The weather plays a role in determining when to hang your lights. If it is pouring rain, you risk electric shock. On a very windy day, you could get thrown off balance while on the ladder or roof of your house. Wait until it is a dry, pleasant day with optimal conditions since you’ll be working outside for several hours. Starting early enough to complete the work before dark is also important. Doing this work without enough light is a recipe for disaster.
Check for Damage
Whether your Christmas lights are brand new, or have been used for a few years, inspect the light string for any frayed wires or cracked bulbs. If the lights and wires aren’t in good shape, just throw them out. The same goes for any extension cords you use with the lights; make sure they are safe for outdoor use and don’t have any exposed metal in the wiring. Test the lights and cords while you are on the ground, before you begin hanging them.
Use the Right Equipment
Use a sturdy ladder that is tall enough to bring you where you need to go without reaching or standing on tippy-toes. Keeping balance on the ladder is hard enough when you are also using your hands to hang the lights. It’s best not to push it by straining to reach something or leaning over to one side rather than getting down and moving the ladder over. Taking extra time with the ladder could make a big difference in your safety.
Timing is Everything
Once you have your lights inspected and hung, set a timer and make sure you control the access to it. Leaving lights on all night is a fire hazard, and a sure way to drive up your energy costs during the holiday season.
Perhaps the most important and fundamental rule for hanging Christmas lights or doing any physically demanding task around your home—save the cocktails for when you are finished. Alcohol will affect your balance and coordination, making any job requiring 100 percent focus more hazardous than it needs to be.
Have a happy and safe holiday season.