The holiday season is upon us, and it brings both merriment and increased safety risks. In an effort to keep you, your family, and your community safe this year – here are 10 safety tips for the holiday season.
1. Don’t leave valuables in your car when shopping
Whether heading to the mall or a big box retailer, have a plan ahead of time. How long will you be shopping? Where will you stow your purchases? Will you order ahead and pick up your item curbside? If purchasing a big-ticket item in-store, can you have a store employee meet you at a side exit to load it into your car?
By thinking through what you’ll purchase and how you’ll be as discreet as possible getting it into your car is vital. Crimes of opportunity are rife this time of year as many folks are focused on the merriment and forget to stay aware. So, plan ahead to stay safe.
2. Be vigilant in parking lots
Robbery in parking lots is common during this time of year as people have more cash and valuables with them. Even something as mundane as a trip to the grocery store can result in an unwelcome encounter with a criminal.
When you’re somewhere that you need to load items into your car, using the triangle method is a great way to protect yourself from being an easy target.
3. Vary your route home and check for suspicious vehicles
Once your items are loaded safely into your vehicle, consider varying your normal route home. Many jugging incidents happen due to someone being followed home.
Tis the season of increased package delivery, so be sure to remove packages from your porch promptly. If you’re not able to do so, consider having someone else collect your package or delaying the delivery time to when you’re home.
Porch pirates are just one common crime during the holidays. Burglaries of homes and cars are also a possibility. In order to help deter criminals and solve crime when it happens, consider installing license plate recognition (LPR) cameras. This will provide vital information including license plates and vehicle descriptions for if and when a crime occurs.
With all the twinkling lights of the season comes increased chances of fire risk. From a dry Christmas tree to kitchen accidents and misplaced candles and space heaters, be extra careful about fire safety during the holiday season.
According to FEMA, half of home decoration fires in December are started by candles. Be smart about where you place your tree too. FEMA also shares, more than 1 in every 5 Christmas tree fires were caused by a heat source too close to the tree.
Lastly, rechargeable batteries are a potentially dangerous item. If you’re giving gifts with lithium-ion batteries, be careful where and how you store them. For more tips on battery safety, check out these tips from FEMA.
7. Know your nearest hospital
With all of the increased hazards of the season, familiarize yourself with the nearest hospital (and children’s hospital if you have kids).
Know the best route to get there in the event of an accident.
Always call 911 in the event of an emergency and save the number to your local poison control hotline too.
8. Beware of seasonal scams and identity theft
Criminals will often use the warm spirit of the holiday season to catch people with their guards down. From phone scams to online scams to identity theft, be extra vigilant this time of year.
Other common scams include gift cards, giveaways, and often a sense of urgency. Don’t let criminals ruin your holidays with these scams. Call local law enforcement if you do find yourself the victim of one of these crimes.
9. Know what to do in the event of gun violence
While it’s the last thing that anyone wants to think about – especially during the holidays – gun violence is an all too real threat. In the event that you find yourself in the midst of a shooting, the FBI recommends that you run, hide, and fight.