1. The Safest Supplies

The first step in outdoor holiday decorating is choosing the lights you’ll use. There are traditional string lights, lit-up figures, net lights for trees and shrubs, and large ornaments for hanging from trees. You should always purchase outdoor grade lights. These will be waterproof or resistant and have a tag marked underwriters laboratories (UL) which means that they meet national industry standards. This rule also applies for the extension cords you’ll need. Always get outdoor grade/water-resistant cords and materials labeled for outdoor use. If hanging lights, you’ll need a plastic hook product to wrap them around or hang them on, rather than severing and exposing electrical cords with nails.

2. A Grounded Outlet

Essentially, a GFCI outlet is a grounded outlet with the capability of shutting off when its overloaded which can easily happen when our family goes holiday-decor-happy. The GFCI should ideally have its own fuse. Having this outlet in place may be the most important element of your holiday decorating safety regimen because in case of an overcurrent, it can prevent your home’s lights from turning off and in the worst circumstances, can prevent a fire.

3. Placement of Extension Cords

Again, make sure you are using outdoor grade extension cords. A lot of these precautions are especially for those who live in extreme cold climates with rain, ice, or snow. When placing extension cords, you want to make sure that they are secured above any ground, water, or snow. Be sure to avoid high traffic areas where people may be walking. Tape them as necessary to keep them out of the way of anyone’s feet or hands.

4. Ladder Safety

The best ladders have a wider spread between the legs, rust-proof hardware, heavy side rails, and a firm stance when opened. When using a ladder, make sure it is locked in place, don’t climb too high (above 2nd step from the top), always be facing the ladder, and don’t place it near doors.

Be safe this and every winter with these safety tips!