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Holiday season and ladder safety

Decorating for Christmas is a holiday tradition, but making sure that the decorations get hung safely is another thing entirely. Here are some safety tips to ensure that this holiday season is spent safely with family and friends in the home instead of in the hospital bed.

“Injuries from falls from ladders are pretty common and they can be devastating. Head injuries, broken hips, just on and on,” said Jim Pollard with American Medical Response, AMR. “If you are not really used to using a ladder and you can afford to hire someone who is an expert, particularly if it involves climbing a pretty good distance up a ladder, or climbing on your roof, hire that person because you are taking a major risk.”

Pollard said that more than half of the people who are injured from falls from ladders placed the ladder on the uneven ground.

He added that when using a ladder a spotter should always be present or have someone there to hold the ladder. In addition, never stand on the top two rungs of the ladder.

“It’s easy to look back, as a paramedic, on causes of serious injuries from falling, and say that it was preventable, but it is just asking people to think first and avoid the worst,” said Pollard. “The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy. We are here to make memories, but good memories. We want to come out on the other side of the holidays healthy, hearty, and happy with a big smile as opposed to having spent part of the holidays in traction somewhere.

Below is a list of tips for ladder safety:

  • Wear shoes that have a good tread
  • Make sure that the ladder is on even ground
  • If using power tools, make sure that the cords on the power tools are in good shape and not frayed
  • Use a tool belt, or have a spotter hand the tools to the person on the ladder
  • Do not climb up and down the ladder with one hand holding something and the other on the ladder. Both hands should be on the ladder when climbing up and down
  • If leaning a ladder up against a structure, be sure to lean it 1/4th of the height of the ladder away from the structure
  • Never put the ladder up against soft parts of the structure such as gutters

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