Homeowners decorate their homes for Christmas earlier and earlier – often before Thanksgiving. If you’re ready to start hanging lights, take safety precautions. Nearly three people per hour are treated in hospital emergency rooms for decorating-related injuries during every holiday season, according to the National Safety Council. Here are five ways to keep yourself safe if you have decorating duty this season.
- Inspect last year’s lights before using them again this holiday season. Discard any with frayed or exposed wires, loose connections or broken sockets.
- Decorate the tree with kids in mind. Place breakable ornaments and those with metal hooks near the top of the tree, where little ones can’t reach them.
- Likewise, some holiday plants, including some varieties of poinsettias, can be harmful to children and pets. Keep them out of your home – or at least out of reach. And keep the number for the Poison Control Center handy: (800) 222-1222.
- Use sturdy ladders when decorating outdoors. Indoors, climb stepladders instead of using chairs, which aren’t designed for someone in a standing position.
- Don’t hide extension cords under rugs or furniture. They can overheat and catch on fire. And when you take the tree down, unplug extension cords. They’re not designed for permanent use.
Fun Facts About LEDs
- In 2012, about 49 million LEDs were installed in the United States, saving about $675 million in annual energy costs.
- Today’s LED bulbs can be six to seven times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lights and can reduce energy use by more than 80 percent.
- Good-quality LED bulbs can last more than 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. If the bulb is burned 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it would last three years.
- From vehicle brake lights to TVs, LEDs are used for their compact size, ease of maintenance, resistance to breakage and ability to focus light in a single direction.
- LEDs contain no mercury, and a recent U.S. Department of Energy study determined that LEDs have a much smaller environmental impact than incandescent bulbs.
- By 2030, LEDs are expected to account for 75 percent of all lighting sales globally.
- Switching entirely to LED lights over the next 20 years could save $250 billion in U.S. energy costs.