Share this tip with the person in your household that's assigned the dreaded task of hanging exterior holiday lights and make them a multi-tasking hero. With minimal extra effort, hanging festive lights from the roofline and eaves can do double-duty and also be a wildfire risk reduction project. I can hear you asking how's that possible - and since I always need extra points to get me on Santa's "Nice" list I'm going to tell you how it can be accomplished.
Cleaning gutters and rooftops while doing wildfire risk reduction projects is often moved to the bottom of many people's lists, simply because it requires someone willing to climb a ladder. But at homes everywhere, somebody is planning their climb to the rooftop to meticulously hang holiday lights, and with just a little extra work added into making your house the shiniest on the block, that same rooftop elf can also remove dead leaves, debris and pine needles from gutters and the roof; areas that catch embers during a wildfire.
Bake your family's outdoor decorating elf their favorite cookies and while they're enjoying those delectable homemade treats, joyfully remind them that while touting their lighting skills to friends and neighbors, they’ve also earned the extra bragging right of reducing their home's wildfire risk.
Every year, hundreds of people fall from ladders while hanging decorations during the months of November and December, so before sending your loved one up the ladder spend a few minutes together reviewing these important safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Select the right ladder for the job – one that extends at least 3’ over the roofline or working surface
- Always place ladders on level and firm ground - use leg levelers under the ladder to level on uneven or soft ground (leg levelers can be purchased at a hardware or home improvement store)
- Ensure the ladder can support both your weight and the load by checking the ladder’s maximum load rating
- Make sure straight and adjustable ladders have slip-resistant feet
- Set up straight, single or extension ladders at about a 75–degree angle. Test if you have the correct angle by standing up straight with your toes touching the feet of the ladder as it leans away from you and extend your arms in front of you, palms should touch the top of the rung that’s at shoulder level
- Don’t use a metal ladder near power lines or electrical equipment, stick with wood or fiberglass ladders in those areas and use extra caution; no ladder should ever touch a live electrical wire
- Check all rung locks and spreader braces on your ladder to make sure they’re set
- Have a helper hold the bottom of the ladder for the entire time you’re on it
- Keep ladders away from a door that can be opened
- Allow only one person on a ladder at a time
- Center your body between the rails of the ladder at all times, leaning too far to one side while working is a no-no and can cause you to fall
- If you wearing a belt the buckle should never be outside of the right or left rail of the ladder
- Don't stand on the top three rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder
- Stay off of the ladder’s top step and bucket shelf and don’t climb or stand on the rear section of a stepladder
- Only use a ladder for its intended purpose and follow instruction labels
- Put ladders away immediately, never leave raised ladders unattended