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Tips to protect yourself during the holidays

The leaves are raked (hopefully) and the turkey will be leftovers soon. Most of us have a shopping plan – stick to the budget, make a list and don’t shop at the last minute. But do you have a plan for being safe?

People often don’t think something bad is going to happen to them, safety experts say. But during the holidays, most of us are busy, excited and sometimes a little bit careless – especially when you have your hands full or when you take out your cash at the checkout.

Family Trust’s Facilities/Security Manager Doug Cole offers the following holiday safety and crime prevention tips for you and your family:


At Home

• Be extra careful to lock doors and windows when you leave your home, even for a few minutes.

• Don’t display holiday gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway. Store all gifts before you go away on a holiday trip.

• If you should take a holiday trip away from home, have some interior lights activated by an automatic timer. Have a family member or neighbor pick up the mail and newspaper. If possible, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway so a car can be seen going and coming.

• Never leave a message on your answering machine or Facebook that says you are not home or on vacation.

• Avoid leaving boxes from gifts (especially TVs, computers, DVRs, etc.) out on the curb or porch for trash pickup. This will let everyone know what new items are in the home.


Use only fire resistant ornaments on a holiday tree. Make sure all electric lights work properly and are completely plugged in. Do not leave the lights on overnight or when you are not at home.

Shopping

• Shop before dark if possible. Always try to shop with a friend or family member. Never park in unlit areas.

• Lock all packages in your trunk or away from view. Move your vehicle to another location in the parking lot once you have placed packages inside. This will limit the number of people knowing of the packages.

• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use your debit or credit card when possible.

• Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse over your arm. Keep wallets in an inside jacket pocket, not a back trouser pocket.

• Teach children to go to a store clerk or security guard to ask for help if they should get separated. They should never go into a parking lot alone.

Online

• Avoid posting your holiday travel plans on social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). It makes it easy for people to plan on invading your home while you’re out of town.

• Avoid posting photos of your Christmas tree filled with presents or newly received gifts of value (purses, TV’s, gaming systems, etc.)

• When shopping online, verify website security. Secure sites start with “HTTPS://” and have a small lock icon in the lower right corner of the screen.

Holiday Party

• Always have non-alcoholic beverages available for guests.

• Always make sure food is served if you serve alcoholic beverage.

• Never serve alcoholic beverage to a minor. You are responsible for both minors and adults at your party.

• Have alternative transportation for anyone that has had alcoholic beverage to drink. Don’t let guests drink and drive.

Have a happy and safe holiday season!