Be Safe When Decorating Your Home for the Holidays

November 24, 2011

Drive around the city this weekend, and you’ll start to see many parcels of Chicago real estate in lights.

Thanksgiving weekend for many is a time when the boxes of holiday lights come out and the decorating begins. It’s also a busy time for hospitals.

The U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission reports that during the two months surrounding the holiday season, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries related to holiday decorating.

Shawn Miller was hanging lights in the trees of his mother’s yard when 7,200 volts of electricity traveled from the overhead power lines, through his strand of lights and into his body. He suffered 27 exit wounds and the loss of his left hand, among other injuries.

“I was just hanging Christmas lights at my mom’s house like I do every year,” Miller said. “Only this time, I was decorating a new area — the trees that lined the front of the yard.

“Please take note of your surroundings before decorating outside, especially power lines and the service connection to your home. Make sure to keep yourself, ladders, and lights far away from them. I’m lucky to be alive. I want everyone to be careful — be aware of power lines.”

Before you undergo a traumatic decorating experience, visit, where you can see a video of Miller’s story and also learn safety tips when decorating your home inside and out.

“Had I known more before this happened, I might still have two hands and the job I loved,” Miller said. “I want to help people learn from what has happened to me. Safe Electricity is helping me help others.”

Categories: Education

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