There are a number of reasons to consider adding the best gutter guards around to your gutters, but the main purpose is to protect them from the build-up of leaves and other tree debris. When left unattended, clogged gutters can result in thousands of dollars in damage due to rot, erosion and foundation problems. Safety is another top concern; each year, an estimated 135,000 people suffer from ladder-related injuries – some of them fatal. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, people 65 and older account for half of all ladder deaths.

Prevent Injuries by Following These Safety Tips

Cleaning out gutters poses obvious risks to personal safety. In order to minimize the chance of injury or death, follow these tips.

  • Awareness. Be cautious and vigilant when cleaning out gutters. Pay attention to the area around you as well as your home. Note the location of all electrical wires and if the ground is wet and soft, don’t attempt to place a ladder there. If your gutters are higher than you feel comfortable climbing, hire someone to do the job for you.
  • Ladder safety. Choose a ladder that can reach high enough for you to access gutters without having to stretch or lean. When raising and lowering a ladder, take care not to pinch your fingers between the sections. Have three points of contact with the ladder at all times (two feet and a hand or two hands and a foot). If tools are required, carry them up in a bucket or bag.
  • Clothing. Wear sturdy, non-slip shoes and clothing that won’t get tangled in the ladder, causing you to fall. Gloves are also an important accessory as they protect your hands from getting cut and scraped while gutter cleaning.
  • Electrical wires. Look up to check for wires before climbing a ladder. Stay a minimum of 10 feet away from overhead power lines to prevent electrical shock.
  • Dizziness. Climbing a ladder can create a feeling of dizziness that may lead to a fall, so climb slowly. Many people are suddenly overtaken by dizziness when working at a high height. If this happens to you, hold tightly to the ladder and take deep breaths until things stop spinning.