Tips to stay safe while decorating for the holidays

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Clark Griswold knows decorating can be a pain.

Even if you’re not hanging 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights like Chevy Chase’s character in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, it can go downhill – fast, and in more than one way.

“Certainly the last thing you want to do is hang your lights on your tree or above the windows or even around your garage and then find out that none of them work,” Rachel Bryson, communications director with the American Trauma Society, Pennsylvania Division, said.

Bryson said the safety work starts before you climb the ladder.

“You don’t want to get electrocuted right before the holidays,” she said.

Check every strand for any dead bulbs. Those could just be burnt out, or an indication of an electrical problem that could lead to bigger problems. Only connect three together at the most, Bryson said, and only use indoor lights inside.

“Outdoor lights actually tend to run at a little hotter temperature than indoor lights,” she said.

That could be a fire hazard. And once you’re ready to get to work Bryson recommends a fiberglass or a wooden ladder because they don’t conduct electricity.

Make sure the ladder is making good contact with the ground and have a spotter there if you can.

You don’t want to be one of the 200,000 people in the U.S. who get hurt each year decorating, or the 250 who are hospitalized.

And learn from Clark Griswold’s failed attempts: You don’t have to overdo it to do it right.

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