Illuminating Advice on Christmas Decoration Displays
It’s that time of year again – November has ended and we’re moving into the festive season with all of its wonder and magic. Most of us will decorate our homes for Christmas, hauling in a tree (or retrieving an artificial one from the attic) to festoon with glittery ornaments and sparkling lights. Christmas lights have become more popular as the years passed and nowadays, it’s not just businesses and commercial premises that decorate their frontages, homeowners are doing it too.
In every town, village and residential area of the UK, a coterie of home owners vie with each other on an annual basis to produce the biggest and best display of outdoor lights and decorations outside their homes and in their gardens. We see giant, blow-up snowmen contending with huge, inflatable Santas and herds of reindeer gracing the streets of the UK and most of us will know where to go to see the most ostentations display in the area. It’s a fun time to be out and about after dark, when the illuminations and decorations can be seen at their best.
If you are one of Britain’s competitive Christmas contenders, then you’re probably already planning your display. Needless to say, that plan should also involve some safety planning if you’re planning to hang lights and decorations higher than you can reach. You’ll be using a ladder, no doubt and December is the time of year that Accident and Emergency departments across the UK traditionally report an increase in domestic accidents involving the use of a ladder. Making sure your ladder is in good working order, safe to use and fit for the task at hand is essential if you want to spend Christmas with your family instead of in a hospital bed, recovering from a fall from height.
Domestic ladders are exempt from health and safety regulations governing ladders and are not checked and maintained (with a log showing that) on a regular basis. Most of us just go out to the garage and grab a handy step ladder without giving a thought to safety, so here’s a quick check list you can use when making sure your ladder is safe and appropriate to use:
- Make sure your ladder is sound, that it displays no signs of damage or wear.
- Make sure that all of the rungs are sound, showing no signs of wear or rusting.
- Make sure the ladder you use is long enough for you to access locations you want to reach without standing on the top step or rung.
- Make sure in each location you use the ladder that the feet rest on a firm, stable surface.
- Keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times (two feet and one hand, two hands and one foot) and that you don’t have to over-reach to hang decorations.
- Make sure you have somebody at the foot of the ladder at all times to provide some extra stability if necessary.
If you’re hanging lights outdoors, then it should go without saying that you should use a weatherproof outdoor extension lead for power or battery powered lights. When hanging your lights, the safest option is to use gutter hooks or outdoor decorating clips that are designed to make the job easy, without having to use extra tools.