Tucson fire warns of Christmas light dangers

Holiday Hazards

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As millions of Americans sit down to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast this week, there is another tradition which goes relatively unnoticed.

It's the annual rite of putting up Christmas lights.

Many people who put up lights and decorations around their homes do so Thanksgiving weekend.

While it might be a festive and fun tradition, there are some hazards to watch out for, like ladders and the lights themselves.

“It’s the number one cause of emergency room visits this time of year,” said Josh Housman, a public information officer for the Tucson Fire Department.

On a 6-foot ladder, the top two steps are the most dangerous, in part, because there’s no way to brace the legs against the ladder.

"You're taking your life into your own hands at that point," Housman said. "You're going outside recommended manufacturers safety tips."

But also, many people fall into the trap of trying the do-it-yourself method.

Using a ladder should always be a two person job.

"One person using the ladder and one person holding it," Housman said.

Trent Purdy owners a home in Winterhaven, a neighborhood in midtown known for its extraordinary light display come Christmastime.

Every year, each house is covered in light displays. It’s a dangerous feat that Purdy makes sure to take every safety precaution.

“We usually have somebody holding it, spotting us,” Purdy said.

Purdy, his wife, Cara, and father in law, Randy, take about a week and a half to string about 50,000 lights around the house, trees and through the yard.

"Cara will spot me, Randy will spot me when we're hanging up things," he said.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Winterhaven Festival of Lights.

One of the requirements is homeowners participate.

“It’s a tradition,” Purdy said. “We’re contributing.”

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.