Thoughts on proper safety and etiquette for taking down holiday decorations -

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thoughts on proper safety and etiquette for taking down holiday decorations

All of the industry authorities do a social media blitz before the holiday season to remind you to be safe while putting up the various holiday decorations. I haven't seen an article yet about safety concerns when taking down holiday decorations, so I thought I would do one.

Why take down holiday decorations?

  1. Your home-owners association (HOA) will make you take them down.
  2. Your electric bill. It's scary.
  3. Your neighbors were just being nice - they really don't like your 10-foot Santa (including sleigh and reindeer) statues strung with lights and tinsel. They want everything back to normal. And they'll passively-aggressively punish you until you take them down.
  4. The holidays are over, yo. Just let them go away until next year.
We didn't put up decorations this year (indoor or outdoor) since we spent the holidays traversing the state to get to various holiday functions. Yes, we're scrooges. On the plus side, the double-wide that we are renting has been ready for Christmas since we moved in (April) - holiday lights line all the fences, and some fake Christmas trees guard the front porch stairs. The lights are questionably deteriorated and the trees look sort of droopy. We haven't bothered to test the lights to see if they work. No need to set the house on fire.

No, I'm not posting a picture of the house...sad enough I have to see it when I drive up. :)

Safety tips for taking down holiday decorations:

  • When cleaning up artificial snow, take a look at the container (if you still have it) and see what it is made of before you try vacuuming it up. 
  • Please take your live tree down before it becomes even more of a fire hazard. Many cities have Christmas tree recycling programs you can take advantage of. City of Prescott picks them up the week of January 13
  • Put ornaments and breakables away carefully so that you aren't surprised by broken glass next Christmas.
  • Wash your hands after taking down Christmas trees and ornaments - there's a number or allergens/irritants and other less-than-safe compounds that could be present on the surface.
  • Take lights down in an orderly fashion (not just toss them in a tangled mess into a box). Next year, you'll be happy you did. And use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) next year on outdoor lights.
  • Be careful taking down lights outdoors - be conscious of weather (wind, rain, etc.) that could affect visibility and safety during removal.
  • Be sure to unplug the lights before trying to take them down.
  • Next year, please don't use nails or staples to put up lights.
  • No standing on counters, chairs, desks, or furniture to take decorations down. A ladder is much cheaper than a hospital stay.
  • When using a step ladder near a doorway, find a way to lock or barricade the door and post signs so your family doesn't open it and knock you off the ladder
  • When climbing the ladder, always face the ladder and grip the rungs to climb � not the side rails. Always keep three points of contact on the ladder whether two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
  • When on the ladder, keep your hips between the side rails and try not to lean too far or over-reach beyond the rails too far. Get down and re-position the ladder closer to your work area instead.

These tips were developed or modified from the National Safety Council "Holiday Safety Tips" and from past personal experience. Good luck for all you suckers who gave into the "holiday spirit" and decorated. Safe wishes for 2014.

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