From falls to fires, how to prevent the dangers of decorating this holiday season

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If a large ladder isn’t on your Christmas wish list, maybe it should be, especially if you’re one of those people who goes all out when it comes to holiday decorations. Experts say this is one of the things that can keep you from becoming a crash statistic.

It happens every holiday season – homeowners are seriously hurt or even killed while decorating their homes.

Mark Valentine was rushed to hospital after falling from an 18ft ladder while hanging a wreath above his garage.

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

He says he is lucky to be alive after breaking ten ribs and suffering a collapsed lung after the ladder fell on 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 good ladder”.

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

“This is where it’s going to get dangerous, if you reach out here to go another foot this way or another foot the other way, thinking you just need one more blister This is where you risk falling or tipping the ladder,” Johns said.

But the dangers of decorating don’t just lurk outside your home.

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

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

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

During a protest, a single spark ignited a fire that spiraled out of control in less than a minute.

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