Injuries and accidents are common while stringing lights, lighting candles and making homes look festive for the upcoming holiday season. Accidents interrupt the fun of the season if consideration is not used when decorating to avoid common mistakes that could cause injury or destruction.

“The holiday season is a time to focus on family,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Small mistakes can lead to large problems if we forget to make safety a priority. Most accidents are avoidable if we take extra time during preparations this year.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for Arkansans planning to hang lights this holiday season:

Select lights with labels indicating they have been safety tested by independent laboratories.

Check each set of lights. Look for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. Discard or repair, if necessary, before use.

When using lights outdoors, make sure they are certified for outdoor use and are securely fastened to protect against damaging winds.

Only use insulated staples or hoods to affix lights. Never use nails or tacks.

Do not use more than three standard-size sets of lights per extension cord, and ensure that each extension cord is rated for the intended use.

Always turn off or unplug when you go to bed or leave your home.

Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that candles were the source of 6,500 residential fires annually between 2010 and 2012. To avoid fires caused by candles, never leave a candle unattended and keep them on a stable surface and away from items that can burn easily, like trees decorations, curtains and furniture.

Use caution when climbing ladders and make sure all locks are properly engaged, keep your body near the middle of the step and face the ladder while climbing. Avoid using the top step of the ladder unless it was designed of that purpose.

For more information about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.