Trying to reach higher on the side of his house to hang Christmas lights, a man tried to balance a metal ladder on cinder blocks.
The ladder teetered and he went down with it. Paramedics were needed for what was supposed to be a day of decorating but turned into a day of injury.
“I have gone on calls where people have fallen not off the ladder but with the ladder,” said Tony McCarty, operations supervisor for Emergency Medical Services Authority.
He said the man who tried to use cinder blocks under the ladder and tipped over was as much scared as he was hurt when paramedics arrived.
“He, the ladder and everything came down in a heap,” McCarty said.
Avoid setting a ladder on anything that is not level and avoid older, wooden ladders if possible. Don't ignore the laws of physics, he said. Ladders were not meant to lean too far to either side while in use, he said.
“If it's not on solid ground don't climb on it,” McCarty said.
Wear safety glasses if available. Something suddenly in the eye can cause the loss of balance on a ladder, he said.
On Sunday, a 57-year-old man fell off the roof of his Oklahoma City house but survived with only cuts, bruises and embarrassment.
Colin Roy, a field supervisor for EMSA, said the mild temperatures have been good for getting outside to hang lights on houses.
Just don't forget to think about using a safe ladder, Roy said.
“We get a little complacent when we're thinking about the task at hand and not the ladder,” Roy said.
Another danger is frost, especially in the morning hours.
The shaded side of a house can have slippery frost.
“The dark side will getcha,” McCarty said.
There have been cases where people using staple guns to hang lights have accidentally put a metal staple in a live wire which is both a shock and fire hazard.
Inside, decorating can be dangerous too.
If a decorator requires extra elevation to trim a tall Christmas tree, avoid the nearest kitchen chair. Instead, find a sturdy stepstool.