Many of us love to decorate for the holiday season by hanging lights from outside our houses. It’s a simple way to spread joy to neighbors or anyone who happens to drive by. However, the process of hanging the lights can be dangerous if you don’t take safety precautions, including roof safety. Few things can put a damper on holiday spirit like a trip to the emergency room and long, painful weeks of recovery.
It may seem strange to make a connection between holiday festivities and injury, but there is a very real risk if you climb onto a roof or other slippery surfaces—especially if there’s ice and other dangerous conditions. Of course, we don’t have to worry about ice and snow in South Florida, but we do have to worry about properly maintaining our roofs to avoid any mishaps. Our rainy season can make a mess of a roofing system if it’s not being proactively addressed. Approximately 15,000 people hurt themselves in the United States every year in an attempt to decorate with lights. And that’s just the accidents that are reported; we don’t know how many other incidents there are, from people who didn’t or otherwise weren’t able to get to a hospital for help.
Here are some precautions in the name of roof safety you can take to protect yourself. Let’s get started, shall we?
Simple Ways To Avoid Injury
Falling, lacerations, fires, and electrocution are just a few of the possible ways to injure yourself when hanging holiday lights. A good way to avoid this is to
Stay Inside During Bad Weather
If there are predictions of bad weather like rain, or high winds impacting the roof, save the lights for another day. No matter how careful you think you’ll be, the risks are real and not worth it.
Test Your Lights First
Even if you bought your lights brand new, still test and inspect them inside to make sure they work. That way, if you notice any loose wires, you can fix them before you hang them up. Make sure the lights you’re using are approved for outdoor use. You may also want to consider using LED bulbs, which are more energy efficient and thus don’t get nearly as hot as incandescent bulbs.
Avoid Metal Accessories
Don’t use screws or nails when hanging lights, as these metal objects could pose a risk of electrocution.
Don’t Overload Electrical Sockets
You wouldn’t do this inside your home, so don’t do it outside for the same reason. Use extension cords that are approved for outdoor use, as well as for the amount of electricity the lights need.
Keep Cords Tucked Away
This is a very simple way to not only keep your yard looking nice and neat but prevent anyone from tripping over exposed cords. That also includes pets!
If You Use a Ladder
Chances are, you’re not tall enough to reach the roof of your home without some assistance. Before you get out the ladder, make sure it’s stable and in good condition. Make sure it’s the right size height to help you reach where you need to reach; stretching while on the top rung could be a falling hazard. Speaking of falling hazards, don’t put the ladder on a slimy roof that’s covered in debris. Wait for it to be clean before putting your lights up. It’s always a good idea to have someone spot you as you do this task — especially if they’re holding the ladder in place.
If You Go on The Roof
We can’t say this often enough: don’t go on the roof when it’s slippery! This is the easiest way to avoid a catastrophic injury. Avoid walking upright, and crawl on all fours so you can better keep your balance. Safety gear is also important: long pants and shirts, safety glasses, and sturdy shoes. Don’t rush through the process but be deliberate and careful with every step. Do as much as you can during daylight, so you have the best visibility.
Roof Safety and More in South Florida
Holiday lights are a great way to add some cheer to your home and brighten up the neighborhood, but they can be tricky. For safety advice, to hire a professional roofer, or ask about our other roofing services, call ABC Roofing today at 954-344-4622.