Safety tips for decorations during holiday season - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Safety tips for decorations during holiday season

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

We're in the midst of the holiday season and Christmas lights are going up all over the valley, but decorating can get dangerous.

Christmas is a magical time of year at Van Anunson's home.

“Christmas is extra special to us. I've always loved Christmas and we've never celebrated when I was younger, but also my husband and his family, the first time I saw his house in Wisconsin it was like a gingerbread house full of lights and it was so magical that we just try to do it here in Las Vegas,” Anunson said.

Reindeer, flying pigs, and hundreds of lights scatter Anunson’s yard. Each year she and her husband add to the collection.

“It usually takes me about a week,” Anunson said, “I do most of it and then my husband does the icicles on top.”

A two person job, safety experts say, needs to be taken seriously. Each year 15,000 people go to the ER for decorating injuries.

“If you're decorating on a ladder you definitely need to have two people there,” Community Ambulance paramedic Melanie Bangle said, “We get calls every year of somebody decorating and they fall from 8ft 10 ft up and they can't call anybody and no one finds them for a couple hours.”

While falling and house fires are the common things people know to watch out for, some of the less known things are just as dangerous.

“Some people do use metal [metallic] trees too, though, so you have a high risk of electrocution if you use regular lights on a metal tree,” Bangle explained.

Fake snow used to dust trees can also cause major lung damage.

When it comes to lights and electricity, Bangle says this is an important one.

“If you're putting up outdoor lights make sure they're rated for the outside, there's a difference between indoor and outdoor lights,” Bangle said.

"The first years that I did it the lights were too many attached together and they would short circuit, so then we had an electrician come in and add three new outlets,” Anunson said.

Bangle warns tinsel can also get wrapped around your pet’s intestines if they swallow it.

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