The holidays are said to be the most wonderful time of the year. Families all over are decorating their homes, cars, and offices for the holiday season, as well as braving the crowds to select the perfect gift for family and friends.
While the holidays are full of magic and excitement, it is important to remember the hazards that can occur during this time of year. We want you to have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season! Take a few minutes to review this list of holiday hazards and what you can do to keep the season joyful.
Don’t let criminals ruin your holiday; here are some common crimes that occur during this time of year:
- Identity Theft. Your personal information is at risk both in-stores and online. Review your monthly statements, balance your checkbook, review your credit report and your personal information to look for any type of discrepancy.
- Drunk Driving. While holiday parties are fun for all, drunk driving is a large cause of injury and death this time of year. Be aware while driving, and never drive while impaired.
- Robbery. Most people carry more cash on them during the holidays. You are most likely to be robbed on the street, in parking lots or other public places. Keep your eyes open for anyone lurking about.
- Vehicle Theft. This type of theft is common all year long, but when you have expensive gifts in your car, and multiple stops, you become a target. Lock your doors, hide your valuables, and take your keys with you. Also make sure you have the proper insurance to replace any damaged or stolen items from your car.
- Scams & Counterfeit Goods. Unsuspecting shoppers can be tricked into buying counterfeit goods, especially for hot ticket items that are sold out, like this year’s Hatchimal shortage! Do your research before purchasing a deal or offer or before you give your personal information to an individual or website.
- Shoplifting. This is by far one of the most common crimes during this season. The stores are crowded, and workers distracted. If you are a business owner, you may want to hire additional security, or put systems in place to protect against shoplifters.
Fire Hazards & Other Hazards from Decorations
A lot of the decorations you use during the holidays can be a serious risk for fire or electrical injury. Enjoy your holiday decor with these tips:
- When using an artificial tree, look for ones that are flame retardant.
- Live trees that do not have enough water cause fire hazards, so make sure your live tree is well hydrated.
- Keep flammable decorations away from candles, heaters, fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources.
- Inspect all lights, electric decorations and extension cords for any damage. Cords and plugs that are damaged should be replaced.
- Don’t overload outlets. Typically no more than 3 strands of electrical lights should be linked together, but check the manufacturer instructions.
- Be prepared for fire emergencies by installing new batteries in smoke detectors, and ensure family members know where a fire extinguisher is.
Home Safety While Traveling
There are many catastrophes that can happen while you are traveling, and not just your house being broken into! Keep your home safe while you’re gone by:
- Phone a friend or neighbor and ask them to check on your house occasionally to see if anything looks suspicious. Have them drive by, or give them a key. You may want to have them also retrieve your mail, or have your mail held by the post office.
- Be careful what you post on social media, you could be tipping off criminals that your house is unoccupied.
- Unplug electronics such as TV’s, computers, toasters and other appliances that could be damaged in the event of a power surge. This also saves your power!
- Don’t leave your spare key out.
- Keep your house as inconspicuous as possible by leaving the curtains as they normally are if you are at home. You can save yourself on electricity by purchasing a light switch timer that can turn your lights on and off automatically.
- If you live in a cold climate, keep your pipes from freezing by having a friend come over and occasionally check your faucets. You also should make sure your pipes are properly insulated and keep your heat on while you are gone.
Holiday Parties & Driving
You should not only protect yourself from perils at holiday parties and driving impaired, but you also should be aware of liability risks and other hazards that occur frequently at parties you host.
- Avoid cross-contamination and food poisoning risks when serving food to guests.
- Be especially careful if your party includes deep-fried turkey, popular this time of year. Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Exercise caution when serving alcohol to prevent guests from leaving the party intoxicated. Ensure guests are not over-served.
- Look for areas in your home that can present safety hazards. Make sure steps are marked, handrails are in good shape. If the weather turns snowy or icy, keep walkways and driveways clear.
The holiday season is a joyous time. It can be easy to forget to take precautions, but use common sense to protect yourself and your belongings to ensure a safe and happy holiday! Please let us know if you have questions about your policies to better protect yourself in the event of holiday issues that may arise.