Holiday lights and decorations put us in the holiday spirit, but the excitement can quickly extinguish if hanging them is not done safely. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says there have been 12,000 or more holiday-decorating emergency department visits each year in the U.S. since 2009. Here’s what you can do to get those holiday decorations installed safely and without injury.
Tip #1: Inspect the decorations before you hang them
Check the wiring of the holiday lights for cracked or frayed cords, missing lights, dead bulbs and other types of damage. If the product has been inspected for potential safety hazards, the label “UL” for the Underwriters Laboratory will be clearly displayed on the tag. A green UL mark means the lights are safe for indoor use only; a red UL means they are safe for indoor or outdoor use. Throw away any damaged strands. Before you move to the next steps, take a few moments to stretch your muscles to avoid injuries!
Tip #2: Clean your gutters and downspouts
Clear out any leaves, branches and other debris from nearby trees. Clogged and backed up gutters and downspouts can lead to water overflow onto your lights, causing an electrical hazard. This should be done before you install your decorations.
Tip #3: Secure your ladder
Make sure your ladder is secure and on level ground before you start climbing. Have someone be your spotter to hold the ladder as you climb up and down. This helps to minimize your risk of falls.
Tip #4: Don’t walk on your roof
Slippery shingles, angled roofs and water channels can make holiday decoration installation dangerous. Avoid the roof, or hire a professional with the proper tools and equipment to handle this for you.
Tip #5: Use plastic safety clips
Use plastic safety clips to secure hanging lights to the exterior of your home. They are both safe and affordable. Don’t hammer tacks or nails into the cord or use metal staples. This can damage wires and create small holes in the exterior of your home, giving rain and melted snow the opportunity to damage your home.
Tip #6: Use the appropriate extension cords
Heavy-duty extension cords made specifically for outdoor use are the safest ones to use for your holiday lights and decorations. Use no more than three sets of standard lights per extension cord to avoid overloading them.
Tip #7: Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)
Plug all your outdoor lights and inflatable decorations into GFCIs. They will help prevent electric shock if different currents occur in the hot and neutral wires.
Tip #8: Take care of the cords
Place the cords against the house or other structures so they are not stepped on, walked on, mowed over or tripped on.
Live Well Chiropractic Center wants you to stay safe and avoid injury as you install your holiday decorations this season! If you are experiencing any pain, inflammation or soreness after putting up your festive décor, please schedule an appointment with us. We will help you stay healthy and pain-free so you can enjoy the holidays with your family and friends. Contact us today at 513-285-7482 to schedule an appointment, and be sure to check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for our latest tips and updates!