It feels like time is moving faster than a lightning strike. We blinked, and it changed from summertime to Halloween. Now we’re staring down the barrel at Thanksgiving in just a few weeks with Christmas right behind it. It may seem like it’s too early for a Christmas blog post. But, the truth is that it’s never too early to plan ahead for safety. Make merry but keep always keep safety a priority. Here are 5 smart safety tips for hanging installing outdoor Christmas lights
Got new lights? Slit open packages carefully.
According to one report, 6,400 people visit American emergency rooms each year as a result of trying to slice and dice their way into frustrating clamshell packages. Those are the hard, clear plastic packages that so many of today’s retail items are packed into before they hit the shelves of your stores.
They were developed to keep shoplifters at bay. The problem is, they are so tough to get into that those consumers who paid for the merchandise often end up with cuts severe enough to require stitches. The problem is so widespread, that a new term has been coined, “wrap rage.”
To prevent wrap rage, don a pair of work gloves to protect your hands and use a sturdy pair of shears to snip carefully into the package. Always cut away from yourself to avoid eye injury.
If you’re using old lights, give them a thorough once over before you even think about starting to hang them up. Outdoor Christmas lights are stored away for months and seem to be a favorite hiding place for mice. For some strange reason, those pesky rodents love to chew the wires.
Once you’ve confirmed the strings are fray-free, stretch them out and let them warm up. Change out any burnt out bulbs from the safety of the ground. It really is much easier, and it’s safer than trying to change them while you’re on a ladder.
If you do need to change out bulbs, be careful. They are delicate and break easily. You dodged the wrap rage by using your old Christmas lights, so don’t cut your self on jagged old bulbs. If one does break, unplug it first, then use small pliers to gently wiggle it out of the string.
If you’ve already had snow or ice on the ground in your region, be aware of it when you’re hanging your outdoor Christmas lights. Slips and falls on the ice might look funny, but they are no joke.
In fact, the statistics are alarming. 50% of in-home fatal accidents are due to slips and falls.
The moral of the story? Spend some time breaking up the ice and removing it altogether from the foundation of your home. Use extreme caution when clearing ice and be sure to eject it far away from the foundation of the home.
Hopefully, it’s early enough in the season that you can make a safe space for hanging up those Christmas decorations. But, if you can’t clear the ice, save your decorating chores for a warmer day.
A ladder will be a necessary tool to get those lights strung high on the eaves of your home. Be careful and use the buddy system. Recruit a family member to feed strands of lights up to you, block out-swinging doors from opening towards you, and help you move your supplies every few feet.
At all costs, avoid overreaching, which is the primary cause of ladder falling accidents. This happens when you lean too far off of the ladder and either lose your balance or cause the ladder to tilt sideways. Either way, it can result in a serious injury.
For more information on ladder safety, read this previous blog post on ladder safety.
Finally, a final piece of advice is to set your outdoor Christmas lights on a timer.
Once you’ve flicked on your Christmas lights for the first time of the season, people will expect to see them on every evening. Unfortunately, this is the time of year when we hear on the news about people having their homes broken into by real-life Grinches.
When you are working late, off visiting friends, or just not home for the evening, Christmas lights off signals to passersby that you’re not home. Setting your lights on a timer eliminates this problem and will keep your home—and your loved ones—safe.
Follow these 5 smart safety tips for hanging outdoor Christmas lights, and you’ll be sure to enjoy a safe and healthy Christmas with your loved ones. Merry Christmas and be safe.
Author Bio: Deborah Tayloe is a full-time freelance writer and blogger specializing in DIY. She’s a regular contributor to GutterBrush. Deborah is crazy over Christmas and has been dying to contribute this blog post since…May.