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City warns of decorating dangers

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Jay Hunsucker
Jay Hunsucker of Highland Village was the victim of a fatal holiday decorating accident.

Highland Village officials are warning the public about the dangers of do-it yourself holiday decorating after a city resident was the victim of a fatal household accident.

Jay Hunsucker, 44, of Mayfair Lane in Castlewood was retrieving decorations from his attic on Friday when he took a wrong step and fell through the ceiling.

He died of multiple blunt force injuries a short time later at Medical Center of Lewisville.

Hunsucker left behind a wife and three daughters.  A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family with expenses.

Highland Village public safety personnel have responded to at least three deaths over the last five years due to a fall from an attic, attic staircase or ladder, city officials said.

According to statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 200 people a day suffer decoration-related injuries this time of year.

Officials recommend that you install plywood between the studs in your attic to prevent a fall.

Here are some suggestions to help keep you safer when decorating the exterior of your house:

  • Hire someone to do the job for you if you can afford it.
  • Assess your physical abilities and limitations. Do you have balance issues or are taking blood thinners? Medications that increase the risk of bleeding should an injury arise should be a consideration when climbing ladders or working from any elevation, including roofs.
  • Survey the weather. If you are doing it yourself, consider: Do you really need to install lights when it’s 10 degrees below freezing and icy? Always respect the weather—even if it means rescheduling.
  • Make sure you have firm footing. Falls can occur from roofs and railings, and experts say they commonly involve a tumble from a ladder. So, ladder safety is a must:
  • First, choose a ladder that’s long enough for the job, one that extends at least three feet over the roofline or working surface.
  • Put the ladder only on level, firm ground, and make sure it can support your weight.
  • Set up the ladder at a 75 degree angle, and away from doors that could be opened or power lines.
  • Have a helper hold the ladder.
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