LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) - Slips, falls and electrocution — when it comes to Christmas decorations for the outside of your home there are more risks than most realize.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 13,000 people end up in emergency rooms around the Holidays due to injuries linked to Christmas decorations. That equals roughly 200 daily.
“We know when we need help, when we don’t, and we always test a roof before we go up with a ladder,” said Martin Zoro, a professional decorator/owner of Zoro’s Christmas Lights. “A lot of homeowners think they can just go out there and they don’t know — the next thing you know they break a leg and there’s no one there to help them.”
The CPSC recommends that people double-check their ladders for warning labels — falls are common on ladders, when you mix in cold temperatures, the potential for uneven ground and slippery conditions the risk is astronomical.
If you’re using lights outdoors make sure that they’re rated for the elements — they should have a testing laboratory label from a group such as the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
UL’s red holographic label signifies the lights are graded for indoor/outdoor use, the UL green holographic label signifies the lights are meant for indoor use only.
Of course, the lights aren’t the only important aspect — if you’re not checking your extension cord is in good use, and graded for it’s use, than you’re risking electrical shock and/or fires.
Few can forget the classic Clark Griswold scene where he makes every mistake between stapling his arm to his home, to flipping his ladder from house to tree accidentally. While the issues seem outlandish, it’s more likely a simple slip and fall could cause bigger problems than you realize.
Some safety experts say the decorations aren’t worth the hassle if you can afford to purchase a service to do it for you — metro Detroit has a handful of such services, including Zoro’s Christmas Lights.
Zoro, the owner, told 7 Action News that he’s gaining new customers every years — most of the time, he said the reasoning behind the request for service is time, but he said the safety aspect is the most important to him. He noted that while the snow hasn’t begun to fly yet, the real risk this year will be when it’s time to remove the lights and snow/ice have arrived.
“A lot of the roofs become icy, but people think they can just walk on it and the next thing you know — they’re sliding off.”
CPSC has an informative list of Holiday safety tips that can help keep you and your loved ones safe this year: https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/611.pdf