Remove Holiday Decorations Safely
Now that the holidays are ending, it’s time to think about taking down your Griswold family decorations. You probably don’t usually think about ladder safety, but after a few egg nogs, it’s an important thing for anyone stepping up to do a project.
The American Ladder Institute reports that each year, more than 300 deaths and 130,000 injuries result from ladder usage. As a homeowner, climbing up a ladder is one of the riskiest things you can do.
To remove holiday decorations safely, here are a few ladder do’s and don’ts:
Do position extension ladders correctly. For stability, a ladder has to be planted with its feet one-quarter of its extended length away from the house. This is not as tricky to calculate as it sounds: for example, if it’s a 12-foot ladder, that means it has to be positioned 3 feet from the house.
Don’t carry an extension ladder upright as you move it. You could easily lose control of it in this position, smashing windows and gutters along the way, and knocking into power lines. Instead, lower it and carry it parallel to the ground.
Do make sure the ladder is positioned on a level surface. Don’t try to use rocks or bricks to prop up one side of it if the ground beneath is uneven.
Don’t ever work on ladders alone. A helper can keep you from making stupid mistakes.
If there’s one guiding principle with respect to ladders, it’s this: if you feel squeamish, don’t go up. Period. Confidence working on a ladder comes from knowledge of the proper safety procedures and experience exercising that knowledge properly. Stay safe while taking down your holiday décor or working on any household project.