The Dangerous Holidays, Part 2

The Dangerous Holidays, Part 2

Last time, we started exploring the reasoning for why we forget what we learned as children about the dangers of electricity, heights and fire when we decorate for the Holidays.


Climbing up slippery roofs, overloading outlets and laying hot, incandescent lights on dried foliage may seem like something out of a funny movie, but the 23% increase in holiday slip-and-falls, fires, accidents and injuries may prove that this is more a reality than a Hollywood comedy.


A man in Southern California recently electrocuted himself while setting up Christmas decorations on his roof after his wife accidentally flipped the switch on the holiday decorations not knowing that her husband was still working on the roof. The shock from the electric current coursing through his body caused him to lose his balance and fall off the roof, giving himself a nasty concussion in addition to electrical burns.


This story is not an isolated incident, but actually an example of many such blunders that happen around the Holidays.


Florida’s climate prevents us from having a snow-covered Christmas, avoiding many ice-related slip-and-falls that haunt the Northern States. What we lack in slippery ice and white powder, we make up in slippery, rotting fall foliage and an abundance of rain all year around. Failing to clean up the dead vegetation on top of your roof may create a hazardous situation around Christmas time – wet, rotting leaves can leave your roof feeling more like an ice-skating rink tilted at a 45 degree angle, old, dry leaves can provide the perfect kindling for a short in an incandescent light bulb, or simply light up from the tremendous heat of the tungsten filament.


How to help prevent accidents, fires, and injuries this Christmas?


  1. Get your roof cleaned up — getting all that vegetation off your roof can significantly increase safety when setting up electronic Christmas decorations. There are several reasons why having vegetation on your roof may lead to dangerous situations. Slippery leaves may cause you to lose your balance and potentially fall off your roof. Clogged gutters may cause a pooling of water. Exposing hot light bulbs or exposed wires to water may cause a short, which could lead to a hazardous situation and even a fire.


  1. Update your Christmas decorations. LED technology is a significant improvement over standard incandescent bulbs. LEDs are brighter than standard bulbs largely because they use a wider light-emitting platform. Also, they run significantly cooler than incandescent bulbs, so there is a much lesser chance of the bulbs igniting dry leaves. LED bulbs do not require a vacuum for the firing of the tungsten filament, therefore the glass bulb is less likely to explode when in touch with cool water. Keep in mind that the electrical cords between light bulbs are covered with a thin layer of rubberized plastic, which wears over time. Old Christmas lights run a higher risk of exposed wires, which could cause a short. Newer LED Lights look better, run cooler, use less energy and are generally safer.


Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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