After the Thanksgiving meal has been consumed, most people’s thoughts immediately turn to the upcoming holiday season. But before you start putting up the decorations, take some time to think about the potential dangers they could pose to your home and its occupants. Some common decoration habits can result in serious injuries or property damage. Two key areas of danger are your holiday lights and Christmas tree. Not only can those decorations pose various hazards, but the activity of decorating can also result in injury. In fact, the Times Union recently published a story written by a personal injury lawyer about the dangers of decorating.
If you approach the decorations from two perspectives, you can always remain mindful of the dangers and how to avoid them. The first step is to consider all the issues that can arise from the process of decorating your home. The second step is to think about what potential hazards can be created by your decorations themselves.
When decorating your home, falls are probably the greatest risk because you are climbing up to your roof to string lights or reaching for the highest part of your tree. If you invite friends over to help you with the process, you can be held liable for their injuries if they fall at your home. The issue is prevalent enough that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) actually conducted a study specifically focusing on falls during the holiday season as a result of decorating. According to the their study, the majority of falls are from ladders, roofs, and furniture. The latter is a result of people using various pieces of furniture to stand on while decorating the upper parts of their trees. Keep these hazards in mind and always use good safety practices whenever working from any height. You should also be particularly aware of the safety of those you invite to your home, as any injury can result in a personal liability claim against you.
Once you are prepared to practice good safety procedures while decorating your home, you need to think about the types of decoration and their respective hazards. The greatest risk is that of fire as a result of electric lights on the house or tree. While a fire would likely be covered by your home insurance policy, it’s certainly no way to start your holiday season. Be sure to test your lights to ensure they are in good working order and do not overload the circuits. You should also never leave the lights on while they are unattended and certainly not when you leave the house.
The tree is also a source of potential property damage and bodily injury. Once a tree has been cut, it will start to dry out, creating a safety hazard. Try to keep it watered as long as possible so that it is more resistant to fire. However, you can also keep it away from the heater and fireplace, which will cause it to dry out faster and may even be sources of fire ignition. A tree that is unstable may also fall and cause injury to those near it. Try to keep your tree out of the regular path of travel to avoid people inadvertently walking into it. It’s also possible to use thin wire to secure the tree to a wall or ceiling to help prevent it from tipping over. Also, keep in mind that a nicely decorated tree is irresistible to small children and pets, so make sure you have a way of keeping them from potentially injuring themselves on the Christmas tree or its ornaments.
By using common sense and thinking of the potential hazards, your decorating experience and the completed results can be both rewarding and safe this holiday season where ever you are- Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico.