The holiday season is quickly approaching, which means houses will soon be decorated with lights, wreaths, and other festive decor. During November and December, about 15,000 people get admitted to the emergency room due to holiday ladder and lighting accidents. Christmas decorating with ladders can be tricky, so we’re here to help. 

Below are some ladder safety tips to help you have a merry time decorating for the holidays this year:

Set up your ladder correctly. Always place ladder on level ground. If you are using a stepladder, make sure it is open completely and locked into place. For taller ladders, remember the 4 to 1 rule: the bottom of the ladder should be one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height. 

Check the weather before decorating. Strong winds or even a light drizzle can create dangerous situations for using a ladder. Save the decorating for a day that’s dry with calm winds. 

Properly inspect your ladder. Before climbing your ladder, make sure it doesn’t have any damage and is in good working order. This is especially important if you have not used your ladder recently.

Don’t stretch. Even if it doesn’t seem so far out of reach, stretching while on a ladder can lead to injury. Over-stretching can result in the ladder kicking out from under you, and could leave you hanging onto the gutter.

Climb the ladder correctly. Always stay facing forward when climbing a ladder, gripping the rails with both hands. Additionally, never stand on the top rung of the ladder. It is also important to always have someone outside with you, to spot you on the ladder from the ground.

While National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a classic movie during the holidays, you don’t want to imitate Clark’s mistakes. Christmas decorating with ladders is common, so make sure to follow the tips above to stay safe while decorating this year!