Prevent Falling Injuries During Holiday Decorating - Part 2
[Continued from Part 1]
Watch for Roof Damage
While on the roof, be careful to watch for roof damage. Loose shingles can slip out from under you and soft spots caused by water damage may feel squishy and unstable under your feet. Always test a section of roof before trusting your weight on it. Now is also a good time to get perspective on whether you need roof repair before the winter weather rolls in.
Traction and Balance on the Roof
A special note on traction and balance: never risk slipping on your roof. Wear tight shoes that don't slip around on your feet and have great traction on the soles. And never stand on the roof or allow your center of gravity to tip forward. Your best bet is to sit and scoot around, keeping your center of gravity low and leaning backward up-roof. If you crouch and creep instead, keep your bottom pointed toward the ground and at least one hand on the roof at all times.
Consider a Tether
If possible, consider crawling to the top of the roof and tethering yourself to something sturdy like the chimney. Rock climbers use this tactic and so can you to make sure that if you do lose your footing, you cannot fall over the edge of the roof. Use a harness for yourself and very sturdy (new) rope that will not fray and is rated to hold your weight.
Inspect Decorations Before Climbing
Never plan to install decorations on the roof that might fail mid-installation. The last thing you want is extra climbing up and down because your light string is broken, your extension cord isn't long enough, or your rooftop Santa won't stay inflated. Inspect and test all decorations before you get up there. Especially tangled light strings which can be a safety hazard.
Stay on the Ladder When Possible
It is much more dangerous to crawl onto the roof than to stay at the top of your ladder. Stay on the ladder and inch it around the edge of your house to decorate whenever possible. It may take more time, but you're much less likely to fall.
Secure Decorations Very Firmly
Every year, a small number of injuries occur because a larger rooftop decoration blew loose in the wind and fell. Unsecured decorations can be a safety risk and even if no one gets hurts, you'll have to go back up there to re-secure them. Always tie down and secure your roof decorations very tightly so that they can stay up even if a winter storm blows through.
Scratch Plans that Don't Work in Practice
Finally, don't be afraid to think twice about a rooftop decoration idea. It's one thing to plan something that might look great from the ground and sometimes you get a better perspective when trying to decorate up on the roof. Maybe you don't have the anchor points you need or the decoration doesn't quite fit where you wanted it to go. Rather than risking a safety issue with under-secured or precariously placed decorations, be ready to rethink your plan. If it doesn't work in practice, you can always try a new idea next weekend.
Whether you are transforming your home into a Haunted House for trick-or-treaters or an enchanting Winter Wonderland for the Holiday season, rooftop safety is paramount for real neighborhood cheer. Allow these rooftop decoration guidelines to help keep you, your family, and your neighbors safe this year while enjoying all the fun and festivity of beautifully decorated homes in your neighborhood.
[Became a 2-parter because safety is important :)