Be careful when you’re decorating

On Sunday, my neighbour, Anna Carlson, was outside installing her brilliant white mini-lights in her yard and along the roof edge.
I have plans to do the same at my home this coming weekend. It will take a full day to get the thousands of white lights on all the trees and branches.
The Christmas season is a time for shopping and visiting friends. Far too often, however, it also is an opportunity for visits to the emergency room of hospitals.
I will have my two ladders out, and will climb up and down them as I curl the lights along branches and over the tops of my two flowering crabs and lilac bushes.
As I’ve become older, I find I’m not as brave as I used be. There was a time when I would stand atop my stepladder reaching up to a higher branch.
Fortunately for me, the ladder never tipped over.
I’ve never put lights up along the eaves of my home, but I have watched people slide down to the front edge of their roof, then walk along the edge stringing their lights.
Last year, more than 15,000 holiday-decorating injuries were reported in the U.S., with almost one-third of those from falls. It could be from a ladder, chair, or table, or even carrying a box of decorations down a flight of stairs and missing a step.
Those injuries that ended up in emergency rooms of hospitals were followed by lacerations and back strains—often by carrying an extra heavy suitcase.
The other big issue in Christmas decorating is home fires. Bare wires and poor electrical sockets seem to be the biggest cause of household fires.
Nothing is quite as devastating as being forced out of your home at Christmas.
Fires resulted in 10 deaths and millions of dollars in property damage. Candles resulted in an average of 35 deaths and almost a half-billion dollars in property damage during the Christmas season in the U.S.
Most of the injuries to people and damage to homes come through the decorating period. But many are preventable. The fine glass bulbs only need to be handled with a little more care and secured well to the branches so that they don’t fall and shatter glass over the floor.
Christmas decorating and entertaining calls for some common sense. Using proper ladders for reaching higher places, making sure electrical cords are not frayed, and properly preparing and cooking holiday meals all will reduce potential visits to the hospital.
We enjoy the outdoor lights around our community. We enjoy the social times with our friends.
Let’s do all those things in a safe manner through the Christmas holiday season.

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