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It’s December 1, which means it’s the first day of summer and the festive season has officially begun! The trees come out and the lights go up, but first, Australia Wide First Aid would like to warn you of the dangers which come with holiday decorating.

That’s right, falling off ladders while putting up Christmas lights and decorations cause the hospital emergency departments to surge with holiday decorating injuries. And then there are the occasional injury caused by “decorating under the influence” of alcohol.

In the US, the number of hospital cases has risen from 12,000 cases in 2009 to 15,000 in 2012. This averages out at about 250 people who are injured per day between the months of November and January.

The typical injuries include lacerations, falls, and back strains. But there are more serious injuries, including broken necks to broken hips – the consequences can be catastrophic.

Ladder safety tips:

It isn’t hard to imagine the ladder you are standing on, while you have your hands full of metres of Christmas lights, begins to slowly slide along the gutter and fall towards the ground. While you think you might know your ladder safety, today is a good day to review the do’s and don’ts.

  • Always select the correct ladder for the job. Ensure the ladder chosen extends 0.5-1 metre over the roof-line or working surfaceladder_safety
  • Always place your ladder on level and firm ground
  • Ensure the ladder can support your weight and the weight of the load you are carrying. Check the ladder’s maximum load rating before climbing.
  • Make sure your ladder has slip resistant feet
  • Set up straight, single, or extension ladders at a 75-degree angle
  • Have a helper hold the bottom of the ladder
  • Keep ladders away from a door that could be opened
  • Allow only one person on the ladder at a single time
  • Do not stand on the top three rungs of a ladder
  • When you are done with a ladder, put it away immediately. Do not leave a raised ladder unattended.

Ladders aren’t the only thing causing injuries. Last summer, 23 New Zealanders visited the hospital emergency department with a plastic cricket bat injury, and another 86 were injured with a Frisbee.

There are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting injured. Have your family participate in a First Aid Course with Australia Wide First Aid. This will allow not just one, but all family members to quickly respond to an injured person. A fully-stocked First Aid Kit will also provide you with the tools which you can apply to an injured person using your first aid knowledge and skills. Ensure your first aid kit is in an easy and accessible location and remember to let every house guest know where it is located too.

Australia Wide First Aid wishes you a very Merry Christmas and safe holiday season.

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