Tips: Make sure you’re safe before you hang your Christmas lights
The end of Thanksgiving, for many people, means one thing: It’s almost time for Christmas.
With that comes the tradition of hanging beautiful Christmas lights. But stringing lights across your roof and around your home can be a safety hazard if you are not careful.
Each year, more than 15,000 people were injured during November and December, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. And each year, injuries increase. The most common reported incidents include falls, lacerations and back strains. Fires are also common, which can lead to injuries, deaths and property loss.
Personal injury attorney Matt Clark, of the Bakersfield law firm Chain | Cohn | Clark, recently spoke with KERO Channel 23 about Christmas light safety, and the liability that comes with hiring someone to hang your lights for you.
But for those who decide to hang Christmas lights on their own, the Kern County attorneys would like you to take a look at a few safety tips, courtesy of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Before you string up a single strand of lights, carefully check them for cracked cords, frayed ends or loose connections.
- Newer lights have fused plugs, which prevent sparks in case of a short circuit. Toss any old strands of lights in the trash that don’t have fuses.
- If bulbs have burned out, replace them right away, but make sure you use the correct wattage bulbs.
- Make sure outdoor lights are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet to reduce the risk of shorts and shocks.
- Keep an eye on extension cords, as they can overheat. If the cord is hot, unplug it.
- Don’t use tacks, nails or screws to hang lights. They can pierce the cable and become electrified. Use insulated hooks instead.
- When running extension cords along the ground, make sure to elevate plugs and connectors with a brick to water and debris out of the connections.
- Tape down any ground-level extensions cords to prevent people from tripping over them.
- Not all lights are made for outdoor use. Make sure the ones you string up on the house belong out there.
- When you put your lights back into storage, make sure to put them in a well-sealed container to prevent possible water damage and to block hungry rodents looking to turn the cords into lunch. My final advice? Be careful with ladders.