Professionals share safety tips for hanging lights

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COLUMBIA - Thanksgiving weekend is a popular time to start hanging holiday lights, and according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission more than 12,500 people are sent to the emergency room each year because of injuries related to lighting and decorating. 

KOMU 8 News spoke with owners of two lighting and decorating companies to get some advice on how to stay safe. 

Luther Harley owns LJ's Lights and Decor. He said being safe with the ladder is important. 

He said he always makes sure the ladder is on flat, level surface and is leaned against a steady portion of the house. He advises to always have someone else close by who can steady the ladder if need be.

Harley said leaning a ladder against a tree is not a good idea because the top of the ladder can easily slide off the tree.

He also said staying within your limits is the best bet.

"My main thing I would say to a homeowner, if you are attempting to put up your lights yourself and you get to the edge of the roof and it seems steep, don't go any further," Harley said. "Because then your body is going to clam up and you're going to be a little more stiff on the roof which is going to make it more accident prone or make you more susceptible to falling."

Zebulon Hahn is the owner of Christmas Lights Installed. He reiterated Harley's advice on ladders and said proper attire is key.

"The best thing you can do is wear some good boots," Hahn said. "Stay snug to the roof."

Hahn said he has been hanging lights for over 10 years and has managed to not have any significant accidents by always paying close attention to what he is doing and not taking short cuts.

Hahn also said making sure not to plug too many strands into one power source is important. He suggests no more than two or three strands plugged into one power source. 

Ultimately, both Hahn and Harley agree the safest bet is to just call a professional, especially if the roof is really steep or if the person is limited physically.