(Editor note: the following article was submitted by David Farrell, Treasurer of the North Salmon Creek NA)
The holiday season is a time typically devoted to family gatherings, general merry-making and giving back – all of which can be both fun and stressful.
Why is that?
Well we all understand the fun times, but some of the potential stressors include such activities as braving the shopping crowds, meeting new people in social situations, going over budget with your gift purchases or even deciding which supposedly charitable organization is worthy of a few of your hard earned dollars. So while it is easy to get caught up in the euphoria and festivities of the season, don’t forget to be alert and vigilant.
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind this, and every, holiday season::
Be conscious of the additional demand on power that your home will require.
Expect your utility bill to jump. Make sure your home or business can adequately and safely handle a greater demand for lights, electricity, gas and water. Is it properly winterized? The yuletide bill increases due to holiday festivities and seasonal decorating. Don’t forget that with the non-stop holiday lights, the heater and lots more indoor entertainment going on, your utility tab can expect to surge. Ask yourself, “If a winter storm comes along, am I prepared to handle a loss of power? It is a good idea to keep a ready supply of (working) flashlights handy.
Watch out for thieves, bandits, burglars and robbers!
The theft rate rises during the holiday season in many places, starting in October. Unfortunately, with large crowds almost everywhere you go, and much more stuff for sale, there’s more temptation for the bad guys to try to take advantage of one’s sense of relaxation and goodwill. Remember, the crooks want to celebrate the season too, and they’re going to make sure they find a way to do it in style. Don’t let them do it at your expense Remember, if they can spot packages in plain view through a car window, or on your porch, they may chose to go “shopping”. If you are carrying packages in your car, and are going to park, place them in the trunk, and always ask a neighbor to take delivery of packages if you will be away from home and anticipate postal or courier deliveries during the day.
Beware of fraud, swindles and scams that target unwitting revelers.
Scams abound when the money and cheer are flowing. Most of us want to share goodwill and good tidings, and is it all too easy to be taken advantage of during the holidays. Be cautious of online transactions and the ever continuing threat of online criminal activity over the internet. If you didn’t buy a Canadian Lottery ticket, you didn’t win the Lottery!
Keep your wits around you when you travel or go out.
Accidents often happen during the holiday season, due to adverse weather conditions, impaired judgment or simple inattention. Also, there are usually more people on the roads as folks take time off to celebrate traditions and vacations coinciding with rougher weather throughout the nation. An automobile accident can not only wreck your car it can wreck your bank account. Drive carefully, drive sober and keep your wits about you.
Do your bit to prevent fires.
One really devastating way that your life’s savings, and much more can be threatened, is a possibly preventable house fire. It seems like almost every holiday season there is at least one horrendous Christmas tree or portable heater fire. A misfortune like this can happen to almost anyone. You should always use Christmas Tree flame retardants, make sure your electrical outlets have safety coverings and avoid overheating bulbs overheat by turning them off when not in use. Not sure of all the fire safety steps you can take. Look on-line, or stop by your local fire department for some safety tips.
It really is possible to have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. So be merry and wise: watch your pockets, keep your eye on your surroundings, keep warm and safe and we’ll see you next year!