As always, after a long year, the holidays provide a welcomed opportunity to recharge and spend celebratory time with family and friends. Unfortunately, the holiday season can create vulnerabilities and increase safety concerns. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Whether attending a party, heading out of town or having dinner with friends, it is important to plan ahead. Before leaving the house, make sure your phone is fully charged. If traveling by car, make sure it has a full tank of gas and is well maintained to avoid unexpected breakdowns. When using public transportation, stay aware of scheduling and your surroundings, keeping your personal belongings close to your body. Never display jewelry, cash or valuables. If possible, do not travel alone, especially at night. By staying in a group, you are less of a target for criminals. For your safety, always communicate your travel plans and location with a family member or friend.
According to the American Safety Council, more than 50% of accidents on New Year’s Day involve high blood alcohol levels. Driving under the influence is not only dangerous, it is illegal. DUIs are the most common cause for arrest on New Year’s Eve. If you plan to drink, take a cab or make sure you have a designated driver for the night. Excessive drinking can also cause a lapse in good judgement, reducing awareness of your surroundings, increasing risk and creating an easy target for bad actors.
Use Fireworks with Caution
Check your local laws regarding the use of fireworks before purchasing. If fireworks are legal in your area, be extremely cautious when using them. Professional fireworks are beautiful to watch, especially on New Year’s Eve, but they are explosives and extremely dangerous when used incorrectly or by inexperienced individuals. Keep fireworks and other hazardous material away from pets and children. Never ignite them indoors or more than once. Even sparklers, which are often used by children, burn at temperatures of about 2000 degrees and can cause serious harm when not used properly. Always keep a bucket of water ready in case of emergency.
Protect Your Pets
Midnight celebrations are a joyous and thrilling experience for most. However, our furry four-legged friends do not always agree. For some pets, fireworks, loud noises and even crowded gatherings can cause hypervigilance. Keep your pets inside and provide a safe space for them to stay. Give them treats and their favorite toys to distract them. Playing relaxing music can also help drown out the loud noises.
Wishing you all a safe and happy New Year!