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Take care on the rooftop hanging those Christmas lights

Climbing on a roof can be hazardous. Paramedics urge people to be careful this year when installing their holiday lights.
by Robert Medley Modified: November 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm •  Published: November 29, 2013

Alex Johnson climbed onto his roof to hang Christmas lights as dark was falling Nov. 16.

Johnson, 31, a longtime roofer who lives in southwest Oklahoma City, was trying to hurry before the sun set.

Then he misjudged the edge and stepped off the roof, falling to the ground 15 feet below. He landed on his side on the grass, but was knocked unconscious by the impact.

“Thankfully it wasn't concrete,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who is 6 feet tall and weighs about 260 pounds, was taken to a hospital and treated for a concussion. He still has pain in his left arm, but no bones were broken.

“People really need to be careful out there. I shouldn't have been up there at dark by myself,” Johnson said.

He's not the only one to take a fall while hanging Christmas lights. Emergency Medical Services Authority ambulance crews respond to several such calls each year, spokeswoman Lara O'Leary said.

A 60-year-old man tumbled off his roof before Thanksgiving Day, O'Leary said. He was taken to a hospital, but wasn't seriously hurt.

Roofs can be icy even if the ground is not, so extra caution should be taken, O'Leary said. Early morning dew can also cause slippery roofs.

Tips to avoid falling include wearing closed-toed shoes with good traction, working in the daylight and not overextending ladders.

People should use outdoor Christmas lights only and use proper outdoor extension cords, and stay away from power lines or electric feeder lines that run from a power pole to the house.

by Robert Medley
Breaking News Reporter
Robert Medley has been a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1989, covering various news beats in the Oklahoma City metro area and in the Norman news bureau. He has been part of the breaking news team since 2008. A 1987 University of Oklahoma...
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