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Putting Up Christmas Lights Could Be Hazardous To Your Health
It's that time of year when Thanksgiving decorations come down and Christmas lights go up.
Christmas Light Pros is a local decorating and light installation company in Austin that expects to decorate 200 houses this holiday season.
On Tuesday they spent the day at three different houses wrapping lights around trees and hanging a large wreath on the front of the house. The owner of the company, Eric Campbell, along with one other worker spent about 20 minutes hanging the wreath that was twice their size -- and while scaling 24-foot ladders they encountered several possible dangerous situations, ranging from strong winds to distracting phone calls.
"A good gust of wind can shift you on a ladder,” Campbell said. "We've had numerous close calls."
Several times throughout the day the workers could have been in harm’s way if they had not been taking safety precautions.
"I have to make sure everyone in my crew is safe and sound, and we do what we are supposed to do without any injuries,” Campbell said.
Doctors at Scott and White Hospital in Round Rock say they are seeing a spike in the number of emergency room visits from decorating injuries. Ross Tobleman, the Emergency Department Medical Director at Scott and White, said in the last week he has seen about 12 people come into the emergency room with holiday decoration injuries.
“We've been seeing a lot of people who have gotten on a ladder and fallen off, broken ankles, broken wrists, broken hips and anywhere from sprained ankles," Tobleman said. “People don't normally get on the ladder except for one time a year to clean out their gutter or to put up lights, so they are not used to being up on a ladder."
Tobleman said nationwide there is usually about 3,000 of these injuries each year. He said when it comes to your health and well-being of your family it is better to be safe than sorry, so in most cases he says it’s best to leave your lighting needs to the pros.
Companies like Christmas Light Pros expect to stay busy all the way to Christmas. Campbell said his number one concern over the next month is safety, and he’s fortunate everyone on his staff understands the risks.
"Luckily I haven't broken any bones, and I haven't fallen yet,” Campbell said.
By Cassie Gallo