Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Safety Tips from Asset Control & ChooseToCare

Reports of assaults, robberies, and vehicle burglaries in strip shopping centers and malls have appeared in the news earlier this year. This does not surprise us in light of the serious problems our economy is facing. With the holiday season is upon us, we may find ourselves preoccupied with holiday planning and shopping. Unfortunately, the safety precautions we normally follow are often forgotten as we enjoy the season's festivities. Feel free to print these tips out and to distribute them to your family and friends. You may even choose to hold a brief family meeting on holiday safety. ChooseToCare wants this holiday season to be SAFE for all. So we remind you to follow these practical safety tips so that your holiday will truly be an enjoyable one!

While Holiday Shopping

1) While out, turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someone's home. Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave even if it's just for a few minutes.

2) Don't display gifts where they can be seen from outside.

3) Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Criminals often prey on people who are or who appear to be distracted.

4) Carry your handbag close to your body, preferably tucked under your arm. Do not leave it unsecured in your shopping cart or in a shopping bag. Avoid carrying it simply by the handle or strap.

5) Place all packages and purchases in the trunk of your car. Do not leave them visible on the front or rear seat.

6) Do not leave your purchases unguarded while in the store or mall. Keep them close and visible to you.

7) Don't forget to bring your cell phone with you if you have one. They are a terrific safety tool, especially for the teens when they are off to the mall. You will want to have a quick way to contact them and to determine their location.

8) Go to the mall with friends if possible. Numbers often deter thieves or assailants, especially when you are walking to your car.

9) Park under or near lighting, if possible. Especially if you know you will be returning to your car after dark.

10) Have your car keys in your hand and ready. Be alert for anyone following you or lingering nearby. If you become uncomfortable or suspicious, return to the mall or walk to where there are others around. Ask for a mall security escort to your vehicle.

11) Have your house keys ready and in your hand when returning home.

12) Avoid carrying your wallet in your back pocket. This is an invitation for pick-pockets. Carry your wallet in your front or breast pocket.

13) Record your credit card numbers along with the toll-free number for each card. This will help if it becomes necessary to report them stolen.

Holiday Safety at Home & for Children

1) Take this opportunity to test your smoke detectors and/or to change your batteries. If you have no smoke detectors purchase some and install them for the holidays. If you cannot afford smoke detectors, consider contacting your local fire department. Many departments provide detectors free of charge for those who cannot afford to purchase them.

2) Be sure to extinguish holiday candles before going to bed.

3) Have a working fire extinguisher available in the house. Multi-purpose rated extinguishers are best for household use.

4) Check holiday lights and extension cords for fraying or bare wires. Replace those that are damaged.

5) Keep your tree watered so that the needles stay moist and green. Water additives are available that will assist in keeping your tree fresh. Never use real candles on trees, even on artificial trees.

6) Do not run extension cords or other wires under carpets. Avoid overloading electrical outlets.

7) Unplug inside holiday lighting when away from home or when pets and small children will be nearby and unsupervised. Pets and small children may chew wires which poses a risk for electrocution.

8) Follow recommended age ranges on toy packages. The ages listed are there for safety reasons, not to indicate whether a toy is developmentally appropriate for the child. Children under age 3 can choke on small parts contained in toys or games and balls that are 1 ¾ inch in diameter or less.