‘Tis the season to be safe! While hanging lights and decorations is a festive way to get into the holiday spirit, it can be extremely dangerous under the wrong conditions. According to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there’s an average of 200 decorating-related injuries each day during the holiday season.
Rather than spending your holidays in the emergency room, spend it in the comfort of your living room surrounded by your family by following our top safety tips.
We know how eager you are to get started, but take a step back and create a decorating strategy. Find out how many strings of lights you’ll need, locate your home’s exterior outlets, clear the gutters of leaves and debris, and gather the right tools for your lighting installation. You don’t want to find out that you are missing something you need after spending 45 minutes on your display.
Purchase the right lights
When you’re in the market for holiday decor, double-check that you’re getting lights and decor that are designed for outdoor use. As using nails, staples, or screws to fasten your lights can damage your decor’s wires, make sure you pick up lighting clips and insulated hooks while you’re at the store!
Test your lights
Before you put your lights up, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re working in the first place. Even if they’re right out of the box, we recommend checking for frayed or loose wires, bad bulbs, or broken sockets. Damaged lights are more likely to cause a short circuit and start a home fire.
Have a buddy
This is one project that you shouldn’t DIY. Ask a trusted friend or family member to help you decorate. You don’t want to be stuck calling out for help when your ladder accidentally tips over.
Practice ladder safety
The majority of holiday-related injuries are from falling, so you must know how to use a ladder safely. Have a buddy spot you at all times, never lean too far over either side of the ladder, and set it up on a stable surface. For more in-depth information, the National Safety Council has shared its best practices for using a ladder.
Use a GFCI outlet
Make sure you are connecting your decorations to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Outlet. These outlets will automatically shut off if a circuit is overloaded and helps reduce the risk of fires!
Be careful with extension cords
You don’t want to rely too heavily on extension cords, as they can overheat. This means no more than three sets of lights should be connected to a single extension cord. Bringing an extension cord made for indoor use, outside, is dangerous. Make sure you purchase an extension cord designed to withstand outdoor conditions.
Don’t run cords along the ground
If you run a cord along the ground, someone could easily trip on it. Elevate any plugs, wires, or cables off of the ground to keep your friends and family safe from potential injury.
Always turn the lights off
Despite following these safety measures, accidents can strike at any moment. Remember to power off all of your decorations when you head to sleep, or if you’re away from your home. That way, an emergency does not arise while you are unaware or away. You can also purchase a timer to turn the lights off for you!
Keep your home safe year-round
The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, and following our safety tips ensures that you get to enjoy all of the festivities.