With mile-long shopping lists, people to visit, and events to attend, holiday safety may not be the first thing on your mind. The Baylor Scott & White Health Care System Department of Public Safety is offering these important holiday safety tips to help keep you and your family protected throughout the busy holiday season.
Whether at work, home, shopping, or traveling, keep these safety tips top of mind to ensure a safe holiday season for you and your family.
- Avoid having several light strings “piggybacked” into one electrical outlet.
- Make sure only outdoor lights are used outdoors.
- Turn off your lights when you are not at home.
- Do not plug in lights with wet or damp hands.
- If children are going to be around, make sure to place plug protectors in unused outlets.
- Keep gifts away from windows and doorways where they can be seen from the outside.
- Place an automatic timer on your lights and radio if you plan to be gone for hours at a time.
- If you are going out of town, ask a neighbor to watch over your house and make it look lived-in. This should include turning on various lights during your absence. Also, don’t forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, it’s a sure sign you’re not at home.
- Stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you. Criminals seek out preoccupied shoppers.
- Park in well-lighted spaces, and be sure to lock the car, close the windows, and place shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use a check or credit card when possible.
- If possible, don’t carry a purse. Either use a pack that secures around your waist, or place your money in your front pockets. Wallets should also be carried in the front pockets.
- Shop with a family member or friend if possible.
- If you are at the mall, use the shuttle service (if provided) to come and go from your car.
- Don’t carry too many items at one time. If you are loaded down with bags, you may be less alert and will not be able to react as quickly if something happens.
- Always have your keys ready when returning to your vehicle.
- Always remain alert and watch for suspicious persons loitering in the parking lots in and around vehicles.
Safety at Work
- Lock personal belongings in a locker, desk, etc., while you will not be at your desk. Even stepping away for just a minute allows someone time to steal your purse, etc.
- Do not leave items in your car such as cell phones, presents, or bags from stores with items in it that could be mistaken for gifts you have purchased.
- If someone approaches you and asks or demands your purse, give it to them. It is not worth risking your life to save your purse. If your purse is taken be sure to contact your bank, credit card companies and the credit reporting bureaus. By contacting the credit bureaus you will be able to keep someone from opening new accounts in your name.
Traveling Safety Tips
- Never allow your vehicle to have less than a half tank of gas.
- Always keep emergency equipment operational and quickly obtainable.
- Keep on hand:
- Working flashlight
- Empty gas can
- Gallon of water
- Fire extinguisher
- Blanket to put on the ground to change tires or for warmth in case of a breakdown
- Know how to change a tire
- Emergency aerosol can of fix a flat
- Jumper cables
- Cellular phone
- If you have to change a flat, do so in a public area.
- Make sure your car is operational before leaving home.
- Park in a well lighted public area.
- Always have keys ready.
- Always lock your doors.
- Never roll your window down more than four inches.
Flying Safety Tips
- Try to sit close to the emergency exits.
- Pack a change of clothes in your over night bag if you are checking luggage.
- Never put all of your credit cards or money in one bag.
The holidays are a good time to update (or create) your home inventory. Take photos or videos of all the items in your house, and also create a list of the description and serial numbers for your possessions. If you are burglarized, this list will help identify stolen items and will make filing a claim with your insurance company easier. Make sure to include televisions, DVD players, stereo equipment, cameras, camcorders, sports equipment, jewelry, silver, computers, home office equipment, and power tools on this list.
For more information on how to keep your family and home safe through the holidays, visit the National Crime Prevention Council website, or contact the Baylor Scott & White Health Department of Public Safety Crime Prevention Officer at 214-820-3649. Download a printable version of these holiday safety tips here.