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Home inspectors warn that decks can be an accident just waiting to happen

CHESTERFIELD , MO (KTVI) - A deck can make a backyard great. Tens of millions of Americans have decks on their homes and apartments. Home inspectors say those decks could be a major accident just waiting to happen. They have a warning for homeowners.

The St. Louis Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors had a training session Thursday with the North American Decking and Railing Association to promote safety training. It is estimated 40 million homes and apartments have decks. There are another 10 million commercial decks. Some of those decks are 20 to 40 years old.

On average, more than 35,000 are injured each year in deck collapses or other maintenance issues with old or poorly constructed decks. We reported on some of these accidents over the past year. The most recent was in Soulard during the 2016 Mardi Gras.

The experts say about 6,000 of those injuries result in paralysis, head trauma or death.

"People think the deck is going to last forever. But, we have to fix our roofs every 20 years. We have to change our windows, they say they are only good for 20 years," said Mike Beaudry with NADRA.

If you can't get an expert right away, like a home inspector, to check your deck then you can go to NADRA.org. They have a deck safety page and it has consumer check list. It is best to go with a professional because they have a 47 item check list.

The bottom line is that if you allow your children, family and friends to get on a structure that is 12 to 20 feet off the ground then take the time to get it inspected before someone gets hurt.