12 Days of Holiday Safety: Outdoor Christmas Lights

Nothing can compare to the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you drive through your neighborhood during the holiday season; streets lined with homes that are lit by twinkling lights.

Now’s time to spread holiday cheer far and wide for all to hear .. but not without considering a few safety measures first!

Whether you’re just going to wrap a few lights around the trees in your front yard or have plans for a light show à la Clark Griswold, that’ll no doubt keep the neighbors awake at night, it is important to understand what many unfortunate souls already know: Installing holiday lights can be hazardous to your health.

“About 200 people a day suffer decoration-related injuries this time of year,” says Patty Davis, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a governmental agency that seeks to safeguard people from consumer-product related risks.

Various studies show that in the worst cases, falls while installing Christmas lights can be life-altering, leaving individuals with traumatic brain injuries and the inability to live independently. These falls can even be deadly.

Outdoor Christmas Lights: Ladder Safety

When it comes to decorating with a ladder, one can never be too safe. One Consumer Product Safety Commission study revealed that 90,000 people receive emergency room treatment for ladder-related injuries every year, while elevated falls account for 700 deaths annually.

The National Safety Council urges the following:

When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. Don’t stand on chairs, desks or other furniture.

If you have to use a step ladder near a doorway, lock or barricade the door and post signs so no one will open it and knock you off the ladder.

A straight or extension ladder should be placed one foot away from the surface it rests against for every four feet of ladder height.

When you climb, always face the ladder and grip the rungs to climb – not the side rails. Always keep three points of contact on the ladder whether two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.

When climbing, keep your hips between the side rails and do not lean too far or overreach. Reposition the ladder closer to the work instead.

Use ladders with slip-resistant feet and wear clean, dry and slip-resistant shoes when climbing a ladder.

When using ladders outdoors, get down immediately if high winds, rain, snow or other inclement weather begins. Winds can blow you off the ladder and rain or snow can make both the rungs and the ground slippery.

Outdoor Christmas Lights: Light Safety

Before you drag down the boxes of Christmas decorations from the attic, or stock up on new string lights, icicle lights, and net lights, take some time to consider set-up and installation safety.

Check that there aren’t any frayed ends, cracked cords, or loose connections. If your lights are damaged, don’t try to repair them. Throw them away and purchase a replacement set.

If your old lights don’t have fuse plugs, stop using them and buy a new set. All modern lights are equipped with fuse plugs, which prevent sparks if a short circuit occurs.

If you notice any burnt-out bulbs, replace them promptly, but be sure to use the correct wattage

Outdoor electrical outlets are exposed to the elements. If your outdoor outlets don’t already have a protective cover, consider adding one. Also, be sure that you use outlets equipped with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outside, so that if water, dirt, or debris creeps inside the receptacle, the risk of a short circuit or shock will be reduced.

Although you see similar lights indoors and outdoors, not all indoor lights are approved for outdoor use. Be sure that the package specifies that they are safe to use outside before you hang them up.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help You

The attorneys and staff at The Carlson Law Firm would like to remind everyone to practice safety when decorating your home for the holidays. If the worst does occur, and you or someone you love is injured in the process of decorating, or due to faulty outdoor Christmas lights or other products, our team of personal injury attorneys can help protect you against insurance companies who will attempt to underpay you for your injuries.

We have been protecting the rights of injured Americans for over 40 years. Contact any of our offices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a free consultation.


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