Our 5 Tips to Prevent an Electrocution Accident When Taking Down Christmas Lights


A man climbs a ladder with holiday lights, careful to avoid an electrocution accident.

Decorating our homes with holiday lights is a favorite pastime for many St. Louis families. But, when January rolls around, families gather up storage bins, set up the ladder and start taking down Christmas lights until next year. As you prepare to store your decorations, our attorneys wanted to share some advice for safely removing decorations and lights. Here are five tips you and your family should follow to avoid a personal injury or a serious electrocution accident this year. 

1. Unplug. 

Before taking down Christmas lights, unplug all lights from their power source. This reduces your risk for an electrocution injury while you are up on a ladder or preoccupied with making sure your lights do not get tangled during removal. 

2. Watch the Weather.

While finding a warm day to remove Christmas lights may be difficult in January, try to pick a date that is dry and has enough daylight to take down your lights. Otherwise, your risk for slipping, falling or experiencing an electrocution accident rapidly increases with any accumulation of snow, ice, rain or mud.  

3. Check Your Ladder. 

Whether you use your ladder frequently or just around the holiday season, check your ladder for damage. Make sure it does not have any broken steps, loose screws or bent supports that may increase your risk for injury. Electrical Safety Foundation International also advises the use of a fiberglass or wooden ladder to reduce electrocution accidents from a metal ladder.  

Additionally, you should follow the standards of ladder safety by wearing proper shoes, keeping your ladder on a flat surface before climbing and asking someone to spot you during your climb on the roof or other elevated surfaces. 

4. Avoid Pulling on Your Lights. 

A good rule of thumb when taking down Christmas lights is to avoid pulling on your lights as you remove them from trees, gutters, roofs or other surfaces. While removing lights is a tedious process, it is important to go slow to keep cords organized and keep yourself safe from a potential personal injury

5. Be Aware of Loose Cords and Store Your Lights Correctly. 

Disorganized string lights are not only a hassle, but they also cause many hazards during the light removal process Some common personal injuries from getting tangled in loose string light cords are: 

  • Electrocution 
  • Concussions and other head injuries
  • Broken bones 
  • Bruises
  • Cuts and lacerations

Keep your lights organized by having someone help you wrap string lights around a light storage reel, on a piece of cardboard or neatly gathered in a designated storage bin. 

Here for You Long After the Holidays 

If you have experienced a serious personal injury due to another’s negligence or a defective product that causes an electrocution accident or slip and fall, our attorneys are here to guide you through the process and get you on the road toward healing. Contact our personal injury team to begin building your case this year.