Tis the season for the smell of hot peppermint mocha latte’s, breaking out your festive clothes, oh, and of course decorating the house for Christmas. It is also the season in which emergency rooms all across the country are filled with those who have injured themselves or other members of their family hanging lights and decorating the house.
Sadly, the vast majority of these accidents can be easily avoided, if you follow the basic safety rules and take the right precautions.
Inspect your ladder before you use it for loose rungs, rusted pivot points on step ladders, and properly working safety locks. If any of these show signs of excessive wear or damage, replace the ladder. The cost of a new ladder is far less than the cost of an emergency room visit and subsequent treatment.
If you are using a ladder to hang lights on your roof or gutters, be sure to have an assistant available to help keep the ladder steady. This applies to both extension and step ladders. If you plan to climb around on the roof, you may want to consider using a safety harness or at the very least a helmet to protect your head in the event you should happen to fall.
Always make sure the lights you use outdoors are UL® listed for outdoor use. Those made for indoor use and are not designed to get wet. They could short out and cause a fire or shock someone. According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), you should never connect more than three strings of Christmas lights together as this could overload the wires and cause a fire.
Be sure to thoroughly examine each string of lights for damaged wires, plugs, bulb sockets, broken bulbs, or any loose connections. You should never attempt to repair broken strands beyond replacing dead bulbs. They should be thrown away and replaced with new ones. Never use electric lights on any type of metallic tree, there is too much risk of electric shock.
This is a good time to get rid of all the incandescent lights you have and replace them with LED lights. They operate at a much lower temperature and use a fraction of the electricity standard incandescent bulbs use.
About that Christmas Tree
If you are thinking about buying a fresh tree this year, you need to be sure it’s truly fresh. The best way to tell if a tree is fresh is to try and pull some of the needles off of it. If they are hard to pull off and are flexible instead of brittle, the tree is fresh. Now you have to keep it that way. Set your stand up and cut the end off of the tree trunk to expose raw wood. This will help ensure your tree can continue to hydrate itself and extend its life significantly. Get the tree in the stand and centered quickly. Once the tree is up and in place, fill the stand with water or better yet Sprite Water will work as Sprite or Seven-Up have sugars in them they help to provide a small amount of nutrition for the tree.
Be sure you put the tree in a spot that is not near the fireplace, radiators, baseboard heaters, or any other source of heat. Not only does this make the tree dry out faster, it significantly increases the risk of fire. Be sure to keep the stand topped up by checking it several times a day.
These simple safety precautions can help ensure you and your family enjoy a safe and happy holiday season!