The holiday season is in full swing and with so much on your mind – Decorations! Gift buying! Parties! – it’s easy to overlook safety precautions. Yet it is important to keep safety on your mind, too, because potential dangers could put a damper on this season of joy and happiness. Here are some tips and guidelines to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday with your family and friends.
• Never leave Christmas tree lights plugged in when you are not in the same room. According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration, the lights on a Christmas tree are the most dangerous hazard, accounting for one-third of relevant fires.
• Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices – they can overheat and cause a fire.
• Consider purchasing LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than traditional incandescent lights.
• Place your tree at least three feet away from all heat sources, including fireplaces, radiators and space heaters.
• Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over, and keep them away from other decorations and wrapping paper.
• Keep poinsettias and other poisonous plants out of reach of kids and pets. While festive, poinsettias are toxic if ingested.
• Avoid decorations that look like candy or food if you have young children, or pets in the house.
• Stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you.
• Shop with friends – there is safety in numbers.
• Beware of strangers approaching you. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash – pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
• Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Don’t overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket. Don’t keep money or credit cards in your back pocket.
• Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
• Park in a well-lighted space, especially when shopping at night.
• Locate you keys prior to going to your car. And keep a secure hold on your belongings – don’t put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
• Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
• Keep an eye out for distracted pedestrians in busy parking lots, especially with backing out of parking spaces.