Tips for Avoiding Holiday Hazards

INSIDE EDITION has tips for staying safe when you decorate this holiday season.

Holiday lights make the season bright, but they can also pose a very dangerous risk!

Improperly hanging decorations result in more than 12,000 emergency room visits every year.  

Home Depot gardening expert Russell Smith gave INSIDE EDITION a few tips on how to avoid holiday hazards.  

1. When using a ladder, make sure it's on a stable base.

"A lot of people, if it's snowing, will put it on snow or ice, you always have to be really careful," Smith says.

Another option is to have someone hold the ladder for you as you're going up to hang the Christmas lights. The second thing you can use is a stabilizer, which keeps the ladder from moving around too much when you're at the top.

2. Make sure the lights are certified for outdoor use to prevent electric shock.  

Hanging Christmas lights is only one of the things you need to be careful about this holiday season.

Holiday fires kill more than 400 Americans each year and cause an astounding $990 million in damage. A main culprit of the deadly blazes...the Christmas tree!

2. Don't overload on lights. This is a common mistake.

"If you have too much power running to the lights, it'll heat up the cord and that's where you can have some issues," explains Smith.

3. To remain safe, it's a good idea to keep the tree out of high traffic areas.

4. Our expert says when buying an artificial tree, look for one that is fire retardant.  

5. Keep real Christmas trees watered.

"With real trees, you have to make sure it's watered, because if you don't water it, it's going to dry out and become very flammable," Smith says.

Smith also recommends using a foot switch to make it easier to turn lights off and on. You always want to make sure to turn off all of the Christmas lights before you go to sleep.