Some of us have already started Holiday shopping, but here are a few tips to keep you safe out there!
It’s wise to do some research on a website before you purchase something and hand over your credit card information.
- log on to the company website yourself – do not enter through an emailed link
- check the Better Business Bureau to see if they have had any complaints about the company
- look for a padlock icon in the upper right corner of any page asking for your credit card information to indicate it is secure
Shopping in Person
- try not to take your eyes off your debit or credit card when someone else is handling it
- make sure store employees only swipe your card once
- keep watch of your personal belongings at all times – don’t leave your purse unattended
- if you must store your purchases in your car, make sure they’re in the trunk and that your trunk opener inside your car is deactivated
Whether you’re a guest or a host, you need to have a plan to prevent drinking and driving. Remember that it’s not always easy to tell if someone is over the legal limit to safely drive and that time is the only thing that can sober someone up.
- determine who the designated drivers in your group will be or have a plan to take public transit or taxis ahead of time
- as a host, consider limiting your own drinking so you can be more aware of how much your guests are drinking
- if you believe one of your friends is too drunk to drive, ask them for their keys and call them a cab; alternatively, you can stay with them until they are sober or offer them a spare bed for the night
- if you are unable to stop someone who shouldn’t be driving, you will need to call the police – it may be difficult to do when it’s a friend, but the potential for serious or deadly harm to your friend and others is a very real possibility if they get behind the wheel
Decking the Halls
if your Christmas tree is visible from the outside, consider not placing gifts under the tree until the last minute
if you have pets, they may be attracted to ribbons and parcels and they could pose a choking hazard
once the presents have been unwrapped, consider taking boxes for things such as computers, electronics and televisions straight to recycling yourself – no need to alert a thief what new toys Santa brought you by leaving the boxes outside your home
If your holiday plans include travel elsewhere, you will want to take steps to protect your home and its belongings while you are away.
have a friend or neighbour visit your home often to check on things
invest in a timer for your lights
cancel your newspaper and arrange for your mail to be brought inside every day
you may be excited about your big trip, but it’s not wise to advertise your plans in social media, such as Facebook and Twitter
Lastly, holiday safety tips wouldn’t be complete without some fire prevention advice.
If you have a fresh-cut Christmas tree, make sure to water it regularly to help it retain it’s moisture; if you purchase an artificial tree, make sure that it is fire retardant
be cautious on a ladder when installing and removing your Christmas lights and inspect your lights for excessive wear before you install them; if you have any doubt about the age and safety of your strand of lights, it’s probably time to get new ones – be power smart and purchase energy efficient LED lights
use only approved CSA and UL tested extension cords and power bars for all your electrical needs
keep all flammable items at least three feet from your space heaters and ensure your heaters are CSA or UL approved
kitchen fires are a major concern at this time of year; don’t leave pots unattended on the stove and be extremely cautious when cooking with oil
have and learn how to use a fire extinguisher
keep candles away from combustible materials and never use lighted candles on or near a Christmas tree; don’t ever leave your home or go to bed with candles burning
working smoke alarms save lives; press the test button on your smoke alarm once a month to ensure it is working and don’t forget to change the battery once a year – if your smoke alarm is more than ten years old, it’s time to change it
remember, smoke from a fire can hurt or kill you long before the flames ever get near you, so make a point of sleeping with your bedroom door closed