When talking about hanging Christmas lights, who could forget the scene from the iconic holiday film, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, when Clark Griswold finally manages to light up his home with “25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights”? The sight of his magnificently lighted home gains Clark some much-deserved praise from his family, considering that he suffered multiple accidents in the process that would have killed a lesser man.
While watching Clark bumble through a family Christmas has made us laugh for years, his lack of concern for safety when hanging his Christmas lights is no laughing matter in real life. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the majority of Christmas-related injuries occur when putting up and taking down decorations. So, before you even think about taking out those boxes of Christmas lights, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind.
Pay attention to what you buy
Be sure that you purchase outdoor lights for hanging outdoors. While interior and exterior lights may look the same, exterior lights are designed to handle the elements outside. You should also look to buy lights that have been tested by a reputable lab such as the UL or ETL. You can find this information on the label. Finally, opt to buy “mini” lights and/or LED lights. These lights not only save on electricity, but they also burn cooler compared to larger, traditional bulbs.
Inspect your lights
Before you start hanging your lights, inspect them first. Check for frayed wires, broken bulbs or bulbs that may have burnt out and need to be replaced. Doing this ahead of time will not only save you work later, but it will also help keep you safe from electrocution and prevent an electrical fire.
Use a grounded outlet
Outdoor lights should be connected to a grounded outlet that is designed for use outdoors. To help prevent fires, opt for a grounded outlet with a built-in fuse. If an overload does occur, the outlet will turn off instead of causing an electrical fire. You can find grounded outlets at your local hardware store or any store that sells tools in Seattle, WA.
Follow proper ladder safety rules
Last, but certainly not least, be sure to pay heed to the following safety tips when using a ladder:
- Do not stand on the top two rungs of the ladder
- When working on a roof, be sure to extend the ladder at least three feet beyond the edge of the roof.
- Do not overreach to hang lights—move the ladder.
- Make sure the ladder is secure and on level ground before you start climbing.
- Space the ladder one foot away from the base of your home for every four feet it reaches up.
- Always work with someone when on a ladder.
Don’t be like Clark this Christmas. Be smart and stay safe when hanging your Christmas lights. For extension cords and grounded outlets, and to get all of the tools in Seattle, WA that you need to hang your Christmas decorations, visit Stewart Lumber & Hardware Co.