‘Tis the safe season: spreading holiday cheer while avoiding injury while decorating
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Besides Thanksgiving weekend, the first weekend in December is one of the most popular times to bring the holiday spirit into your home.
It’s also when hospital emergency rooms see an uptick and fire prevention experts pull back.
Not like the Grinch, but according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 160 decor-related injuries occur every day during the holiday season.
It can be fun for the whole family – picking a tree and then decorating it for the house…but from ER to ER, there’s a holiday theme, not just the decor.
“It also presents an opportunity for injuries to occur,” said Dr. Thomas Waters, an emergency medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. “We see a lot of injuries from falls, and obviously when you’re putting up holiday decorations, that often involves being on a ladder. You really have to be careful when you’re doing that and do it the right way.”
This means never climbing a ladder higher than the point where you are four feet above the top of the ladder.
“(You have to) understand that falling six feet to the ground can be very devastating, if not life-ending,” Dr. Waters explained.
Matt Brown, chief of Allegheny County Emergency Services, said a real Christmas tree should be checked every day.
“Make sure the tree is fresh and you can test that by bending the needles,” he said. “”””””””””””””””””””””
President Brown said modern LEDs don’t get as hot as the ones you inherited from your parents or grandparents.
“Both of these lamps generate heat,” Brown said. “There is a lot of electricity consumption and we rely on it so it can pose a greater risk.”
Chief Brown said to never leave the tree lit when you leave or go to bed.
“There should be someone in a relatively close area, so if something bad happens there, you can address it,” he added.
It’s also important to be careful when using decorations around your fireplace.
“A burning fireplace should be a burning fire,” Chief Brown explained. “The lit candles should be a watch candle and the lit tree should be a watch tree. This is the best safety consideration for me.”
Two final points – avoid using extension cords that are plugged into extension cords, it is best to have everything plugged directly into the wall.
Of course, make sure your smoke detectors are working.
As for exterior decorations, Dr. Waters recommends staying away from the roof and letting the professionals do it. Chief Brown added to be aware of the lighting you place and that it is not in contact with a part of your home’s ceiling that could catch fire if the bulbs are hot.
(tags to translate) KDKA-TV Morning News