This post has been adapted from a blog written by Angela Burrell, Public Relations’ Manager of our corporate company, Universal Services of America. Her unaltered version first appeared on December 14, 2015. Many thanks to Angela, for sharing her blog about holiday safety.
Our wish for you is that you will keep the following safety and security tips in mind as you celebrate the holiday season. Share them with family, friends, colleagues, co-workers and building occupants to let them know you care. #BeSafe and Happy Holidays!
Nine Smart Shopping Tips
- Park close to your destination, in a well-lit area and lock packages in the trunk, out of sight.
- Carry your purse close to your body and stow your wallet inside a zippered pocket.
- Report any suspicious activity or unattended packages to store/mall security or law enforcement.
- Stay vigilant this holiday season. Be aware of your surroundings: “If You See Something, Say Something.”
- Pay by credit card, rather than check/debit card, to reduce the risk of funds being taken from your bank account. Keep all receipts and compare them to your monthly statements.
- Avoid being overcharged; review your receipt if you pay by debit, to ensure that the transaction is correct. Seems like a good idea even when it’s not the holidays!
- Keep your car key handy and lock your doors as soon as you get inside your vehicle.
- Shop online at home with known businesses. Avoid shopping online through pop-up ads as they may be phishing scams or contain malware.
- Conduct transactions on a secure server only; look for the padlock device on the browser’s status bar. The URL should change from http to shttp or https when asked for payment information, which indicates that the purchase is encrypted or otherwise secure.
Eight Workplace Alerts
- Report all solicitors or suspicious persons to security immediately. (The guy in this photo, at right, looks alarmingly suspicious to me. I wonder if all bad guys look the part? Probably not.)
- Be suspicious of unfamiliar people claiming to be repair persons, as thieves are apt to disguise themselves.
- Make sure your receptionist and/or security team clears any workers or contractors before allowing them into your office.
- Question visitors who wander throughout your offices. Legitimate guests will appreciate your offers of assistance, while potential solicitors or thieves will be deterred.
- Lock all personal items in a desk or file cabinet. Employees should never leave purses or wallets exposed where they can easily be stolen.
- Draw blinds after hours so that computers and other valuables are not visible from the outside.
- Close doors when the office is empty, and secure all valuables in a desk or closet when unattended.
- Request a security or buddy escort to your car if you are working late and feel vulnerable.
Seven Home Safety Guides
- Refresh your holiday lights; consider buying energy-efficient LED types that are cooler than conventional incandescent lights and heed indoor or outdoor use labels.
- Point any decorative outdoor laser light devices at your home and not towards the sky. Have you seen those new laser light shows? They are so cool.
- Turn off lights or decorations before bedtime, or set automatic timers for six or eight-hour increments to conserve energy.
- Monitor candles and fireplace fires, and extinguish them before leaving the house or bedtime.
- Consider installing motion or lighting sensors that turn off automatically when no one is around.
- Let strangers who knock know you are home without opening your door. Do not feel compelled to donate to solicitors.
- Ask a neighbor to collect your mail or have the post office hold it, if you plan to travel for an extended period.
Six Basic Fire Rules
- Fires peak, particularly in kitchens, during the holidays, so remain alert when preparing meals and keep potholders and food wrappers at least three feet away from heat sources.
- Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, ensuring that they work at optimal level year-round. Replace batteries, as needed.
- Know where your exits are located and hold regular fire drills that include practicing at least two evacuation routes from every area or building to your safe refuge area.
- Notify the property manager about exit lights that are broken or vandalized.
- Never prop open self-closing doors, as they are designed to keep flames and smoke from spreading. I don’t have a self-closing door on my doghouse. Maybe it’s time to invest?
- Keep exits and stairways free from obstructions at all times. Don’t store things on or under stairways, or on landings.
Five More Tips and Resources
- The National Fire Protection Association summarizes Christmas tree and holiday lights safety.
- Electrical Safety Foundation International’s Holiday Decorating Safety guide lists many resources.
- The National Safety Council recommends several Holiday Safety Tips.
- Be prepared for more thorough airport security checks by TSA and register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program before traveling outside of the U.S., per recent travel alerts and warnings issued.
- Consult the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for recalls and alerts on toys and other products before making purchases.
We hope you enjoy a safe and secure holiday. Please view CDC’s 12 Ways to Health Holiday Song, and #BeSafe! Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to think safety all of the time. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.