November 28, 2012 5:36 am
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,500 people for injuries from falls, cuts and shocks – all related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees. Thinking about lining the walkway with candles to stay safe? Think again, as the CPSC warns that candles start about 11,600 fires annually resulting in 150 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $173 million in property loss.
To transform an outdoor area into a holiday wonderland as safely and efficiently as possible, try the following:
• Develop a plan. Sketch out a drawing, take before and after pictures and file them away for next year's decor. Having a plan is not only a time saver, but it also eliminates the amount of time spent on the roof or on ladders – a safety hazard for both pros and homeowners, alike.
• Make time. Plan on at least three hours for roof hanging. If it's the first time you're executing a plan, keep it simple. It's easier to add more lights on another day, but get the basic outline complete first.
• Test and retest. Test each strand of lights early and before attempting to hang. Don't test on the fly.
• Use the right stuff. Only use exterior extension cords, and use more than one. A common DIY mistake homeowners make is connecting all of the lighting through the same line and outlet. Doing so can blow fuses and lights.
• Tape it up. Tape up connections so that outdoor elements don't affect the circuitry. For example, exposed extension cords are trip hazards for both homeowners and visitors.
• Use clips. When hanging lights and decorations, use clips, not nails. Clips hold better and don't destroy the home's exterior.
• Never go solo. When mounting roof lights, work in pairs. Have one partner hold the ladder (on hard ground in an area free of small rocks, divets or holes) so that it stays secure. This reduces accidents and gets the job done quicker. And when in doubt, call in the experts. Professional lighting installers can install lights on high peaks and places that typical home ladders can't reach. They can also develop a plan to be implemented season after season.
Oftentimes, less is more. Use an elegant and simple holiday lighting scheme and don't go to extremes. Using too many colors or fixtures can look overbearing and take away from what you are trying to accomplish.
Source: Outdoor Living Perspectives
Published with permission from RISMedia.