The annual tradition of hanging Christmas lights isn’t what it used to be, and for some people, that is definitely a good thing. Years ago, decoration was dad on a ladder with a staple gun, usually long past dark, trying not to go head first into the hydrangea. Now, things are quite a bit easier, especially if some basic advice is followed with regard to safety. Before you start your fall and holiday decorating, review these tips to make sure your family stays safe from slides, scrapes, and falls.
Keep it Small, Santa
Very often, light installation projects exceed the ability and stamina of the work crews assigned to them. Everyone has seen the gigantic amusement-park displays accomplished by the holiday event enthusiasts. Everyone wants their house to look lit up with fun, but few take the reality of the workload into account.
A few modest lights on the average home is festive, easy to accomplish, and unlikely to overwhelm the average head of household. It is also quite a bit cheaper on your electricity bill to stay modest with electrical lights and decorations. Overloading your circuits is a real danger to consider as well.
The smart play is almost always to get someone to do the work for you. This doesn’t mean you can aspire to turn your house into the Santa Monica Pier, but it does mean you will have some extra hands around to help do the heavy lifting.
If you do bring in outside help, make sure you have an attorney on hand to draft a basic release. The Levin firm in Philadelphia says establishing negligence in a case comes down to if a “defendant owed a legal duty to exercise reasonable care.” Make sure your attorney looks over your homeowner’s agreement and if possible, make certain the people helping you have some experience. The best bet would be to find a roofing contractor. Leaving aside the fact they can likely do in a half hour what it would take the average father a weekend to accomplish, contractors are bonded and insured and have all the necessary equipment. It might seem like a big expense, but getting it wrong can be just as bad. A certified roofing company can do a routine inspection of your shingles and help prevent future winter disasters as well. Keep a sharp eye out for loose tiles, damage, or any bare spots.
Have a Plan
The ladder and staple gun are usually a recipe for either a long night or a trip to the emergency room. Christmas lights are a two-day job at least, with day one being nothing but planning, standing at various vantage points around the house and a lot of pointing. Make sure you have a plan before you just drag one end of the light string up a ladder and start stapling. You should also check local laws, HOA rules and regulations concerning holiday lights and decorations. The most you’ll have to worry about is fire safety, but there might be other rules you overlooked. In Portland for example, there are specific guidelines concerning tree cutting and fire safety when using live trees.
The holidays are a joyous time, and in order to keep them joyous, anyone interested in decoration should take a few basic steps ahead of time to make certain the job is within your capabilities and that it doesn’t create safety issues for you or anyone else.