Safety Tips for Hanging up Christmas Lights

An emergency medicine physician offers some safety tips as people start hanging up Christmas lights.

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CLEVELAND – Now that Thanksgiving is over, many people are starting to decorate for the holidays and that includes hanging up Christmas lights, which can quickly lead to an accident if you’re not careful.

“The most dangerous part of that is the ladder and falling. Especially when you’re putting them up in weather conditions where it might be cold, rainy, wet or even icy,” said Thomas Waters, MD, emergency medicine physician for Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Waters said the best way to stay safe is to only hang Christmas lights on the lower level, where you don’t need to use a ladder.

However, if you are going to use a ladder to get up to the roof, be sure to have someone down below holding the bottom. Be mindful of the weather, too. It can be easy to overlook slick spots.

As for other tips, carefully examine all of your Christmas lights and throw away any with frayed wires or broken bulbs.

“These are things that you typically pull out once a year. You should inspect them once you pull them out and then inspect them again once you put them away for the season,” Dr. Waters advised.

You should also avoid hanging Christmas lights on anything that could be flammable, and be sure not to overload your electrical sockets.

When in doubt, Dr. Waters said it might be better to just pay a professional.

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