Sunday, November 23, 2014

Keeping Safe during the Holidays

The Holiday season is in full-swing. For a great many people all over the world, it is a time when they will be celebrating some sort of Holiday tradition. The Holidays are a joyous time when we gather together with family and friends - sometimes we exchange gifts - sometimes we're just happy to be with the ones we love. During all of our Holiday festivities, we need to make sure we keep our home and family safe - here are a few tips to help you:

At this time of the year, the crime statistics go up and break-ins are among those crimes that rise. Help keep your home safe from intruders by making sure your home looks occupied (especially if you'll be traveling!). Ask a neighborhood teen to shovel your snow (and have them walk around outside in the snow to leave tracks), install timers on your lights in various places in your home (you can even put one on a radio and outdoor decorations so they will go on and off at various times during the day). Keep presents away from the windows where someone can easily see them. Don't stack your wood near a window (it is all too easy to pick up a log and use it to break a window).
Also make sure your garages and cars are secure - don't leave your wallet in your car just because it's in the garage. After the big gift-opening festivities, take care when breaking down boxes and putting them in the recycling - An empty big-screen TV box sticking halfway out of the recycling bin the day after Christmas is a great advertisement for thieves looking for new goodies in a home.
Be Fire Safe

Did you know that Holiday fires cause more than $900 million in damage annually? Now is the time to be extra vigilant about fire safety. Choose a spot away from heater vents and heat sources for your tree if you have one. Cut the bottom inch or two off your tree when you bring it home and put it in water (ideally water with tree preservative added) right away. My favorite tip to help keep your tree fresh is to grab a few diapers (new, unused, of course!), rip the lining open and take out the thick "inner core" (the absorbent part), tear it into pieces and put it all around the base of your tree trunk (I usually put some in the bottom of the stand before the tree goes in and then add more all around the trunk - usually about 2 large size diapers worth - of course, it depends on how big your stand & tree are). Then add your water - the diaper lining will expand into a white gel-like substance, and will help to hold water for your tree for days - be sure to keep adding water as necessary though to keep your tree fresh and green. Be sure to check your smoke detectors and replace batteries as needed. Don't leave those holiday candles burning unattended, it only takes one spark to start a fire. Never burn wrapping paper in the fireplace - it isn't just paper, but paper coated with a bevy of inks and chemicals - sometimes even lead.

Your family certainly doesn't need to breathe those fumes, plus if the chemicals build up in your fireplace they can explode (which certainly wouldn't make for a fun holiday).

This time of year boasts a bevy of holiday dangers, keep your kids and pets safe. Of course, we all know that Mistletoe, holly and poinsettias are potentially poisonous - if you suspect your child has ingested any of these items, call the National Poison Center: (800) 222-1222. Alcohol poisoning is common this time of year - parents hold parties with cocktails and guests leave unfinished drinks around. If a child drinks any leftovers, they can become sick quite quickly as their bodies are so small.
Shop Safe

Even though money and credit are tight this year, there are still crowds of shoppers. It's important to keep safe while shopping too! Never leave your car (even for a minute) without closing all the windows and locking the car. Place all purchases in the trunk, out of sight. Always be alert of your surroundings and check take a quick peek into your car before entering it. Park in well-lighted areas, and take a friend with you - it'll be more fun too! Don't leave your purse in the font basket of a shopping cart - turning your back for even a split second can mean losing your purse. Make sure you get back your credit card and drivers license when you make a purchase - it is not uncommon for a clerk to get busy and forget to give it back to you.

The Holiday season is fun, festive and filled with friends and family - keep the fun by keeping safe!

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