The holiday season is full of fun and festivities, yet, each year there are tragic stories ranging from faulty lighting causing house fires to burglars breaking in and stealing gifts.
The public safety experts from Rave Mobile Safety, creators of the national safety database, Smart911, encourage citizens to review the following tips and create a free Safety Profile to ensure the safest and most enjoyable holidays for individuals, families and loved ones.
- Beating the Burglars: According to the FBI, nearly 400,000 burglaries take place in the U.S. during the holiday season annually. Make sure windows and doors are locked, even if you're leaving your residence for a brief period. Avoid having large displays of gifts that can be seen through windows or doors. In general, the more "normally lived in" a residence appears the less likely it is to become a target of burglars, so keep a radio or television on. If you're traveling, be sure to have someone collect your mail, consider an automatic timer for your lights, stop newspaper delivery, make sure someone shovels snow and keep a vehicle in the driveway if possible.
- Tree Tips: Fresh trees not only stay green longer, they are less of a fire hazard. To select a fresh one, remember that needles should be hard to pull from branches and should bend, not break. Also, inspect the base of the trunk to make sure it is sticky with resin and then bounce it off the ground. If there's a shower of falling needles, it's too dry. In your residence, keep the tree away from fireplaces and other heat sources. If it is a large tree, consider using wire to further secure it to a wall or ceiling. Position it away from foot traffic and doorways. Finally, before setting it in a sturdy, wide stand that always contains water, cut off about two inches from the trunk to increase water absorption and slow drying.
- Getting Lights Right: Make sure every set of lights – indoor or outdoor, new or old – have been inspected for damaged sockets, frayed or bare wires and faulty connections. A single extension cord should have no more than three standard-size light sets. Whenever leaving your residence or going to bed, be sure all lights have been shut off. Also, electric lights should never be used on a metallic tree; a faulty one can actually electrocute a person that simply touches a branch.
- Outdoor Decor: Cold, wet weather means slippery conditions, whether it's a walkway or a rooftop. So, when decorating outdoors, make sure your ladder is on solid ground, always secure, and be sure to have someone on-hand as a "spotter."
- Fire Prevention: Cooking is the #1 cause of home fires and related injuries, so have an extinguisher close by. An extra-busy kitchen means an increased risk of burns and knife injuries, so keep additional people away to avoid confusion and accidents. Burning candles may add ambiance but they can also be dangerous – never leave these unattended or in the care of a child. Additionally, candles and holiday lighting increase the risk of fire, so be sure to check and make sure all smoke detectors are in working order.
- Drinking Responsibly: Alcohol-related accidents and deaths are particularly high during the holiday season. If you're hosting, remember that you are responsible, so keep a close eye on your guests, their consumption, offer plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives and do not let anyone drive impaired. Also, be certain your guests have chosen a designated driver in advance, and, that you do the same if you are attending a get-together.
Finally, Rave Mobile Safety urges citizens to create a Smart911 Safety Profile containing details about their household that they want 9-1-1 to have during an emergency. This can include all family members and photos, information on medical conditions and disabilities, home and vehicle details and even pets. Once created, when a citizen places a 9-1-1 call the Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the call-taker and can be immediately relayed to teams in the field, allowing for a better understanding of the situation and more effective emergency response.
Each Smart911 Safety Profile is private, secure and only available to 9-1-1 call takers during an emergency call. Smart911 is currently available in 26 states and more than 300 municipalities to protect millions. If you're traveling this holiday season, remember that Smart911 is a national system, so a Safety Profile can be delivered with an emergency call in any area of the country if the local 9-1-1 call center is supported by the service.
To check Smart911 availability, you can enter a zip code at http://www.Smart911.com.
About Rave Mobile Safety
Rave Mobile Safety is the most trusted software partner for campus and public safety. Used by leading Institutes of Higher Education and State and Local Agencies, the award-winning portfolio of Rave SafeCampus, Rave Alert, Rave Guardian, Eyewitness, Smart911 and SmartPrepare enables millions to feel safe, secure and connected. Rave Mobile Safety is headquartered in Framingham, MA. For more information please visit www.ravemobilesafety.com.