Outdoor Decorating Safety

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Each year during the holiday season, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries such as falls, cuts and shocks related to holiday decorating.

Follow these outdoor safety tips when decorating your home for the holidays:

  • Never decorate alone. Have another person close by in case of an emergency.
  • Inspect all lights, decorations and extension cords for damage before using.
  • Make sure all extension cords and electrical decorations used for outdoor decorating are labeled for outdoor use.
  • Match the power needs (amperage) of electrical products with the amperage rating of extension cords.
  • Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). If circuits are not GFCI-protected, portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold and are easy to install.
  • Keep all extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water.
  • Don’t use nails, tacks or metal staples to secure your outdoor holiday lights. Use insulated hooks instead.
  • Make sure spotlights used to illuminate decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather and a safe distance from any flammable items.
  • Inspect ladders for loose or missing screws, hinges, bolts and nuts before using. Ladder Safety 101.
  • Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity.
  • Make certain your ladder is the correct height. It should extend at least 3 feet over the roofline.
  • Use caution when decorating near power lines. Keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from power lines.
  • Never plant your ladder on a muddy or shaky surface.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices. They can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Make sure that cords or not pinched in doors or windows, which could damage the cord’s insulation.
  • Always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.
  • Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.

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