From Falls to Fires, How to Prevent Decoration Dangers This Holiday Season

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If a great ladder is not on your Christmas wish list, maybe it should be, especially if you are one of those who goes all out when it comes to holiday decorations. Experts say it’s one of the things that can keep you from becoming an accident statistic.

It happens every holiday season — homeowners getting seriously injured or even killed while decorating their houses.

Mark Valentine was rushed to the hospital after falling off an 18-foot ladder while hanging a wreath above his garage.

“You can actually see right here where I cracked my skull,” Valentine said.

He says he’s lucky to be alive after breaking ten ribs and suffering a collapsed lung after the ladder fell on top of him. 

But accidents like this don’t have to keep happening, say the experts at Christmas Decor of New Jersey.

Richard Johns says the first piece of advice he has is to “get a great ladder.”

Before climbing up, make sure the ladder is sturdy and on stable ground, and always have a spotter. He also says to never climb on the roof or reach too far while standing on a ladder.

“This is where it’s gonna get hazardous, if you were reaching out here to go another foot this way or another foot the other way, thinking that you need to get just one more bulb. That’s where you’re at risk for a fall or to tip the ladder,” Johns said.

But decoration dangers are not just lurking outside your home.

Fires are also a major concern. Holiday decorations are responsible for more than 790 fires every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Nassau County, Long Island Fire Safety Chief John Murray says many of those fires are caused by overloaded extension cords and Christmas tree lights that have been improperly stored.

“How many people wrap these up like this, and then they store them in the house for a year. Well that’s how the cracks happen, and that’s how the shorts come about,” Murray said.

During a demonstration, a simple spark ignited a fire that became out of control in less than a minute.