Holiday Theft Prevention Tips

The holiday season is among us, a time for celebration and giving. However with all of purchases, presents and merry partying comes the threat of break-ins and theft. Protect your home, vehicle and your family this holiday season with these seven tips.

1. Leave the lights on. If you are heading out of town to visit family or just going down to the mall for some last minute gifts don’t leave your house in the dark. Empty houses are targets during the holidays. Have your outside lights and holiday lights on timers. Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your newspaper and mail if you will gone for a few days.

2. Don’t have your gifts visible. After a day of shopping make sure you put your gifts in the trunk of your car, if your trunk is visible cover your packages with a blanket to keep the bags out of view. If you have a Christmas tree in your front window, leave gifts hidden out of sight until Christmas, if all of the wrapped gifts are in view you are more likely to be a target.

3. Install a security system. Using a security alarm can alert you or the police of an intrusion. Install pet-friendly motion detectors in areas like your living room or front door area. The motion detectors will go off when a person triggers them but ignores anything weighing less than 60 lbs. You don’t want Fido or Fluffy triggering the alarm and causing a panic!

4. Lockup valuables. Purchase a safe and keep any valuables, important documents and momentos in here. Keep track of your holiday gift purchases. In the event of a theft you will likely be able to recover some of the value lost from your insurance.

5. Invest in a front-door security camera. (Or at least a decoy!) With many packages and deliveries getting left on your front porch many potential thieves may be tempted to make a grab, installing a security camera at the front door can help deter people from entering. If you don’t want to spend the money on an actual camera system, purchase a realistic decoy that will do the trick.

6. Install a password protected or fingerprint keyless entry lock. Fingerprint locks can give you a little extra protection and the high tech entry systems will keep a record of who goes in and out.

7. Don’t open the door without checking to see who is outside. If you don’t have a peephole- install one and make sure that you can get to the door without being seen from the outside. Teach your children not to open the door if they do not know who is there or to wait for an adult.

 

These are just a few tips to keep in mind when trying to stay safe and secure and prevent theft during the holiday season.

 

Don’t Rely On Luck: St. Patrick’s Safety Tips

St. Patrick’s Day is coming quickly! The Irish holiday celebrated by many here in the U.S. as a day of drinking green beer and pinching people for not wearing green is typically a care free and fun event. However, with many people partaking in festivities involving drinking, it is important to make it a safe and responsible night as well. Here are some safety tips:

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1. Plan ahead. If you will be out on the town or attending a party, make sure you have a plan for a safe ride home. Select a designated sober driver, plan to stay with a friend, or plan to take a taxi or Uber home. Never let a friend drive when intoxicated.

2. Hydrate. Drink enough water during the day to help ensure you are not hungover on March 18th.

3. Know Your Limits. Everyone wants to have a fun and enjoyable night out. Don’t go overboard and be a burden on others.

4. Charge Your Phone. Before your night out make sure you have a full battery on your phone. You will want to have a way to contact people.

5. Keep Valuables Close. A large crowd of people can sadly attract pickpockets. Make sure you keep your purse and wallet safe from people that could take advantage.

6. Watch Your Drink. Don’t leave your drink unattended. Make sure to have someone you trust watch it if you need to put it down.

7. Eat Up. Make sure you have enough food in your stomach to soak up the alcohol. Eat a healthy, substantial dinner before you hit up the bars.

8. Stay in a Group. Don’t go out by yourself or leave the group. Make sure you are at least with one other person. Also, make sure someone knows where you will be for the night.

5 Tips for a Safe Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! You are probably busy planning a romantic date night for your valentine, but make sure to prepare ahead for a safe night to make sure your day stays sweet.

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Follow K.I.S.S. (Keep it safe and secure) with these tips.

1. Beware of social media

Sure, sharing pictures of your heart shaped dessert on Instagram may be fun, but sharing your location is dangerous. Letting people know your home is vacant (dinner and a movie date will let them know you will be gone 2+ hours) can make you a target for burglars. Post pictures when you get home!

Bonus: Being off of your phone will make for much better conversation with your partner.

2. Limit your cash

With lots of people out on date nights, you can become victim to a lost wallet, stolen purse or a pickpocket. Limit the amount of cash you are carrying and keep valuables close to you. Ladies, keep your purse fully zipped closed and keep it in front of you. Men, don’t carry a wallet in your back pocket.

3. Avoid dark areas

Sure, you want to be alone with your significant other on Valentine’s Day, but being alone in a dark alley or street makes you vulnerable. Stay in areas with other people and walk and park in well-lit and trafficked areas.

4. Secure your home

Even if you are gone for just the evening make sure to lock doors and windows and leave some lights on in your home. If you will be traveling out of town get someone to check on your house.

5. Don’t leave it burning

Candles and fires are romantic on Valentine’s Day. Before you go to bed or leave your house ensure candles are blown out, the fireplace is off, the stove and oven are off and your hair straighteners or curling irons are unplugged.

Fourth of July Fireworks Safety

With the hot, dry weather comes an increase and danger of wildfires. This 4th of July, the risk of lighting off fireworks is high. State officials have issued burn bans for some areas with emergency burn precautions extending to all 39 counties. The burn precautions are very early this year, with soaring temps and little rain the state is facing droughts and potential fire risk.  To help do your part in preventing forest fires, there are a few precautions you can take to avoid human-caused wildfires.

Source: Deviantart.com

Source: Deviantart.com

The statewide burn ban prohibits all fires. Here is what is prohibited and what is allowed this 4th of July weekend.

  • Wood/ charcoal fires in campground fire pits- PROHIBITED
  • Gas/ propane cook stoves- ALLOWED
  • Fireworks/exploding targets/sky lanterns- PROHIBITED ON FOREST LANDS/STATE PARKS
  • Fireworks- PROHIBITED IN MANY CITIES/COUNTIES

In order to ensure the fireworks you are setting off are legal, Washington State Patrol has released this list on how to identify illegal fireworks.

    • Not purchased from a Washington State licensed fireworks stand.
    • Purchased through an online vendor.
    • Person selling the fireworks tells you they are from another state.
    • They are not packaged in bright colored paper.
    • They do not have safety warnings/ instructions on the package.
    • The package does not indicate country of manufacture.
    • Resembles a roll of coins with a fuse out the side.
    • Wrapped in plain brown paper
    • Solid red, silver or brown in color
    • Looks homemade, has electrical tape or fuse isn’t taped down.

BurnBanSign-2

These particular fireworks are illegal to sell, possess, or set off in Washington State.

  • Firecrackers
  • Bottle rockets
  • Sky rockets/ missiles.

In addition, many counties/cities have their own restrictions or bans for fireworks. To find out the specifics for your area, check out this chart.

 

Sources: Washington State Patrol

 

Holiday Safe Travel Tips

The holidays are quickly approaching and your schedule is likely packed with festive activities and parties. If you are planning on heading out of town to visit family or friends for the holidays or for the day, it is important to keep in mind safety tips for traveling.

photo via Ris Media

By Car

Check your vehicle before heading out. Make sure you have a full tank of gas, your tires are properly inflated and your lights and windshield wipers are working. Pack a winter weather emergency kit in case of inclement weather on your trip.

  • Don’t drink and drive. If you have been partaking in festive celebrations involving alcohol do not get behind the wheel. Have a sober driver get behind the wheel instead. Even if it is the next day make sure you are awake and alert before beginning your road trip.
  • Wear your seatbelt and make sure kids and pets are properly bucked up. Make sure your child is in the proper safety restraints for their size and age (car seat, booster seats.) Pets should not be allowed to roam around the car, protect them with a cat or dog travel carrier, pet barrier in the trunk, or seat belt harness.
  • Have your cell phone available but don’t text/call while driving. Keep your attention on the road, not your electronic devices. It is important to have a phone easily accessible in case of an emergency or inclement weather.
  • Check the weather along your route. Have an idea of what you are heading into. If you are facing snow, rain, sleet, ice, hail, thunderstorms etc. you should be prepared.
Photo: Sean Locke

Photo: Sean Locke

By Plane 

  • Pack your presents in carry-on luggage to avoid theft and damage.
  • Travel light. Although you may need to take warm winter clothes (hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters…) with you don’t pack things you don’t need. It will make for an easier trip if you aren’t weighed down with heavy luggage or extra bags.
  • If you have medications you are bringing make sure to keep the medications in their original packaging and keep in your carry on bag. If your luggage is lost you don’t want to have to deal with not having important medications.
  • Make sure a friend or family member has your travel itinerary and that you have arranged for transportation once you arrive at the airport. The holidays are busy and many people will be waiting for taxis and shuttles.
  • Leave expensive jewelry, cameras and electronics at home. You don’t want to risk getting robbed or potential damage.
  • It is flu season, wash your hands often and carry hand sanitizer with you. Avoid touching your face or eyes. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve. If you have been sick, consider postponing your trip.

 

Preparing ahead for your travels will help you avoid stress during the holidays. Follow these tips to help you arrive safe, happy and on time to your holiday destination.