Tips for avoiding decoration-related holiday injuries

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(WIAT) — As Thanksgiving approaches, many people already have the holiday season on their minds, and that includes decorating.

Although this is a fun filled time for families to deck the halls with lights, trees, candles and more, if the decorations are not properly installed, the end could result in major injuries.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, hospital emergency rooms treat about 15,000 people a year for injuries including falls and shocks related to holiday lights and decorations during the months of November and December.

“Holiday decorating is a fun tradition for many families, but if done improperly it comes with serious risks,” said Blake Hargett, operations supervisor for Shoals Ambulance. “It’s really important for people to think safety first at this time of year.”

Shoals Ambulance offered some safety tips for the purchase and placement of holiday decorations:

If you choose an artificial tree, choose one with a fire resistant label. CPSC reported that fires caused by Christmas trees and holiday candles result in numerous deaths and injuries, causing an average of $200 in property loss and damage annually.

Live trees should be watered frequently and kept away from heat sources, as dry trees create a fire hazard.

Make sure to use decorations and ornaments that do not look like candy, especially if there are children in the house, as they are often tempted to eat them. Breakable decorations should be kept toward the top of the tree, out of reach of children and animals.

Burning candles shouldn’t be left unattended, and combining candles with decorations often causes fire hazards. Candles should be left separate from fresh greens, pine cones and other decorations.

Lights should be checked for safety, looking for cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. Labels should be looked over to ensure they are clear for indoor or outdoor use. Burned out bulbs should be replaced with bulbs of the same wattage.

Teamwork is essential when decorating. Make sure ladders are secure and always have a spotter at the bottom of the ladder to keep it in place. Non-slip shoes should be worn by the person climbing the ladder, and they should always keep at least one hand on the ladder at all times.

Electric decorations should be plugged into extension cords that are large enough to carry the intended load. Finally lights should never be left unattended, as the lights could short out and cause a fire.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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