Installing Christmas decorations injures thousands yearly

Posted at 4:45 PM, Nov 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-11 16:46:15-05

With nearly 15,000 Americans visiting emergency rooms yearly involving injuries from holiday decorating, it is no wonder why Joshua Trees is quite busy.

Trees, a managing partner of, has been involved with installing Christmas lights for nearly two decades. Every year, his phone rings frequently as homeowners are looking to safely decorate their homes.

Trees, and his crews that are stationed in dozens of cities nationwide, have been busy installing Christmas displays since mid-October, according to Trees.

“We get about 25,000 requests every year so there are a lot of people out there who want to have their lights hung,” Trees said. “They physically can’t do it, they don’t own a latter or they simply are scared of heights because it is dangerous.”

The stats back Trees up.

According to a 2012 study from the Consumer Production Safety Commission, 34 percent of the 15,000 injuries are from falls of a ladder. Another 11 percent are lacerations and 10 percent are injured from back strains.

Trees’ service takes the danger out of installing Christmas lights for consumers and business owners. Trees hires individuals such as professional landscapers and roofers who already have equipment and knowhow for avoiding falls and electrocutions.

“A lot of the people don’t have the proper equipment to safely do it,” Trees said. “We’re also offering a superior product, everything we use is commercial grade, so it makes it worry free. Everyone is already busy enough during the holidays, who needs another stress?”

Trees said his crews have been trained to take precautions to avoid injuries. Some of those precautions include using a spotter when a person is on a ladder above 14 feet, wearing harnesses and using GFCI adapters on each outlet to prevent overloading electrical outlets.

Tips to avoid injuries:


- Check your ladder

The No. 1 culprit for injuries this time of year is from ladder falls. Decorators should check the integrity of the ladder they are using, and use a spotter on the ground to maintain the ladder’s stability.

- Check all lights and connections

We all have seen the scene from Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold plugs in the lights with sparks flying. To avoid this situation, Christmas lights should be individually checked, and installers should make sure they are not overloading circuits. Many automatic timers and extension cords have a limit to the amount of amps they can handle.

- Check for the freshness of trees

If you are buying a live tree, make sure to check the freshness of the tree, and continue watering the tree. A dry, dying tree can easily catch on fire from the heat of light bulbs and wires.

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs.