Every year, many families go to great lengths to get into the holiday spirit. We carry trees, climb ladders, scale roofs to string lights, and spend countless amounts of hours wrapping gifts. Now and then, getting into the holiday spirit can take a turn for the worse. A man is hanging lights when the ladder slips out from under him, sending him plummeting to the ground. A toddler swallows a low-hanging ornament while the family is distracted decorating. These situations are not hypothetical, they are actual injuries. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) tracks emergency room visits at 100 different hospitals each year. The CPSC documented over 1,700 Holiday-related injuries between 2011 and 2015.
Nobody needs trips to the emergency room around the holidays. We have developed a series of helpful steps to help you avoid these types of injuries. Follow these simple instructions while decorating to avoid holiday trips to the hospital.
Before you decorate
Make sure lights do not have any frayed ends, cracked cords, loose connections or damaged. Do not try to fix them. Throw them away and purchase a replacement set.
Outdoor electrical outlets are exposed to the elements. If your outdoor outlets do not 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 outlet, the risk of a short circuit or shock will be reduced.
If you purchase new lights be sure that the package specifies that they are safe to use outside before you hang them up. Indoor lights are built with thinner insulation that will become damaged if left out in the cold.
When hanging lights outdoors
Use insulated hooks to hang up your lights, not tacks, screws, or nails, all of which can cut through the cord’s insulation and endanger you and your home.
Wooden or carbon fiber ladders are recommended as metal conducts electricity.
Anyone climbing a ladder should have someone at the ground level supporting the ladder.
Do not modify or cover decorative lights.
Cover all outlet receptacles with electrical tape to prevent water or debris from entering.
Do not run extension cords under doors, around hinges, or under carpeting.
Be sure that the power needs of light fixtures match up with the capacity of the extension cord.
Do not overload outlets. This can cause them to overheat, which can lead to a fire.
The holidays are about spending time with family. Not spending time in the hospital. Follow these simple steps to have a safe holiday decoration set-up. Have a fun and safe holiday from the family of Kimmel Carter law firm. Cheers!