The Sarasota County Fire Department reminds residents to use ladders safely when decorating indoors and outside this holiday season. Follow these smart tips for ladder safety:
- Before using a ladder outdoors, choose a location that is well away from power lines. Contact with live wires can be fatal.
- Place the ladder on level ground and open it completely, making sure all locks are engaged.
- Use the 4-to-1 rule for extension ladders: for each 4 feet of distance between the ground and the upper point of contact (such as the wall or roof), move the base of the ladder out 1 foot.
- Always face the ladder when climbing and wear slip-resistant shoes, such as those with rubber soles.
- Keep your body centered on the ladder and gauge your safety by your belt buckle. If your buckle passes beyond the ladder rail, you are overreaching and at risk of falling.
- Make sure rungs are dry before using the ladder.
- Stand at or below the highest safe standing level on a ladder. For a stepladder, the safe standing level is the second rung from the top. For an extension ladder, it's the fourth rung from the top.
For more information on holiday safety, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000and ask for the Emergency Services Public Education Office, or visit the county's website atwww.scgov.net.