By Carla Peacock

It’s great to show your holiday spirit if you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa and there are so many ways to decorate your home.

Each holiday season, Markham Stouffville Hospital sees an increase in emergency department visits resulting from falls, fires or electrical malfunctions over the holidays. Small accidents can lead to serious injuries which could be prevented using the following simple safety tips.

  • Ask for help. Working as a team will be safer and more fun. You will need someone to hold the ladder and pass tools and decorations so you don’t lose your balance.
  • Select decorations that are easy to install or are close to the ground.
  • Use the right equipment when hanging lights or decorations outside. Choose a ladder that is the right height and make sure your tools are not damaged.
  • Do not overreach, always position the ladder securely, reposition as needed and avoid power lines.
  • Ensure lights are not damaged and function properly. Avoid using nails or tacks to secure them in place.
  • Inside the home, use a step ladder, not furniture, for hard to reach places.
  • Keep live trees away from heat sources and water them daily. Ensure artificial trees are labelled fire resistant.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house to avoid a short that could start an electrical fire.