As you’re getting ready for the holiday season, decorating is no doubt a big part of the festivities. But did you know that holiday decorating related injuries are surprisingly common? In fact, there are about 160 decorating-related injuries EACH DAY during the holiday season. With almost half of these injuries involving falls, many can unfortunately be serious.
We want everyone to have a happy, and safe, holiday season, so before getting out the tools and ladders, let’s take a moment to go over some basic holiday decorating safety!
Planning Reduces Stress
The likelihood of injury increases significantly when you’re under stress, so starting with a good plan and allowing yourself enough time is a great first step to safe holiday decorating. Simple things like checking and unraveling lights before you climb the ladder to start hanging them can have a big impact on your stress level!
We recommend organizing your holiday decorating into smaller projects that you can complete in a couple of hours, instead of focusing on everything that you want to do. Plan out all of the decorating you want to do and stage the decorations beforehand so that everything is available and ready for you.
Use Ladders Safely
Falls and other ladder-related injuries rank among the top of holiday decorating injuries. Most of these injuries are caused by attempting to complete the work too quickly, distractions, or carelessness. Here are some of the top ladder injuries and how you can avoid them:
Don’t stand on the top of the ladder – The top of a ladder is not a step and should not be used as one. Most ladders today will have a sign or warning on the top useable step and you should not attempt to use a ladder past this safety recommendation.
Make sure the ladder is on a level surface – Prior to using a ladder, you should make sure that it is sturdy and secure. Ladders tipping and shifting can result in serious injury.
Don’t overreach – It can be tempting to try to finish one last section before moving the ladder, but don’t. One of the top causes of ladder falls is overreaching, so taking the time to move the ladder could prevent you from experiencing a serious injury.
Use care climbing up and down – Most ladder accidents involve missing a step while going up or down the ladder. Take your time and pay attention while climbing up or getting down off of a ladder.
Keep steps dry – Slips and falls are common, particularly when rain or snow are involved. When hanging decorations outside, it’s recommended to pick a dry day to avoid potential injuries.
Use The Right Lights
Did you know that lighted decorations are rated for either indoor or outdoor use? Not only that, but decorations intended for indoor use cannot be used outside, and decorations intended for outdoor use can’t be used indoors! Use of improper lighting and decorations can result in an electrical or fire hazard, so pay close attention to the ratings and recommendations included with your decorations.
Be Cautious With Candles
On average, there are 20 candle fires a day. When using candles, make sure that they are far away from potentially flammable objects such as papers, curtains, and other decorations and NEVER leave a candle lit when you go to bed. Candles are a great addition to the holidays when used safely but should always be used responsibly and extinguished completely.
Lastly, while less common today, some homeowners still use candles as decoration both on their Christmas Tree and other ornamental decorations. This is a serious risk of fire and should be avoided. If you want a candle “look”, there are fake lighted candles that you can purchase to mimic this effect, but we strongly recommend against using candles in this way.
Maintain Your Christmas Tree
Whether you have a Live Christmas Tree or an Artificial Christmas Tree, some safety precautions are necessary to ensure that you have a happy and safe holiday season.
Live Christmas Trees – A dry tree is a major fire hazard. In addition to watering your tree regularly to prevent it from drying out, we also recommend cleaning up any pine needles that may have fallen on the floor as the needles and resin are extremely flammable as well. Christmas Trees should also be set up far from heat sources like heaters and fireplaces, and proper indoor-rated lighting used for decoration.
Artificial Christmas Trees – When picking an artificial tree, we recommend looking for one that is “fire resistant”. Additionally, since lighting is included in many artificial trees these days, we recommend checking to make sure that your tree has been approved by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL). When decorating your tree, it’s recommended to place artificial trees away from heat sources and always use appropriately rated indoor lighting as well.
We hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday full of winter festivities, hot cocoa, and family get-togethers instead of slips and falls!
About Disaster Blaster
Disaster Blaster is an indoor environmental firm serving the Northeastern PA Area. We have been providing our local area with unparalleled mold remediation, water mitigation, asbestos abatement, radon mitigation, basement waterproofing, and fire / smoke restoration services for decades, and are proud to have been named The World’s Greatest Indoor Environmental Firm. For more about Disaster Blaster, as well as more helpful tips, please visit our website at: www.disasterblaster.com or call our office at (570) 963-1123.