Firefighters warn about ladders and hanging Christmas lights

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Christmas lights are an important tradition for many people but depending on how far you go, and how high you go, it can be a deadly one.

“Usually, some silly thing happens, which is why they fall and get hurt like with me,” says Maureen Gile. “The ladder gave way and down I went.”

Gile, from Haysville, says she is lucky to be alive.

“I had to have surgery on my shoulder,” says Gile.

Add to that black eyes, torn tendons, and broken bones.

“As I was going down, it was kind of in slow motion,” says Gile. “I just knew that when I got to the bottom, I was going to die”

Giles fell off her ladder while hanging Christmas lights two years ago.

“They say your whole life goes in front of you. I was trying to think of those things. The fall was not nearly as bad as that sudden stop that gets me,” she says.

The Centers for Disease Control says about 300 people die from ladder-related injuries in the U.S. every year.

Fire crews are usually first on scene.

“Too often, we will make calls where somebody has attempted to put up their lights, or use any sort of ladder, and misstep or do some things like not using three points of contact,” says Captain Stephen Runyan from the Wichita Fire Department.

This year, Giles doesn’t have to worry about hanging her lights because her friends and co-workers hung them for her.

“It meant a lot to me,” she says.

It also means a lot to those who want to see you enjoy a safe and well-lit Christmas.

“You do not want to end up like Christmas vacation,” says Cpt. Runyan.

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