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Important safety reminders when putting up Christmas decorations

When it comes to putting up your Christmas decorations safely, the best tip is use common sense, starting with the ladder.

PHOENIX — With Thanksgiving behind us, holiday lights are popping up all around us. So 12 News thought it was time to give a few important safety reminders to the overzealous decorators out there.

When it comes to putting up your Christmas decorations safely, the best tip is use common sense, starting with the ladder.

“Remember, that top step is actually not a step, It’s where you can put some of your tools. And if you can, have somebody stable that ladder. We see some of our most serious injuries from people putting up holiday lights,” Phoenix Fire Captain Rob McDade said. 

Emergency room physician Dr. Frank Lovecchio of Valleywise Health Medical Center agrees. He warns that these injuries can often be far worse than a broken bone.

“We certainly see deaths. We certainly see people, especially people on blood thinners, cause bleeding around their brain," he said. "We see neck fractures, collapsed lungs, ruptured spleens or ruptured livers.”

While we don’t have to worry too much about heart attacks resulting from snow shoveling in our area, Dr. Lovecchio says more people do wind up in the emergency room from fire-related injuries this time of year.

Phoenix Fire Captain Rob McDade has two easy steps to help prevent that from happening. First, be sure you have a newer space heater that automatically turns off if it falls over. Second, “Do not overload those circuits. Don’t plug it in, plug it in, plug it in. Don’t overdo it. Be safe," he said. 

Lastly, and this is unrelated to decorations per se, but Dr. Lovecchio reminds everyone not to drink and drive.

Approximately 36 people die of an alcohol-related car fatality per day in the United States. And around Christmas time, it goes up to about 45. And New Year's, it goes up to 52."

Stay safe and happy holidays.