Smart911 Offers Helpful Hints for a Safe Holiday Season
From preventing fires to child-proof decorating, public safety leaders offer a free eBook and checklist to ensure a fun, safe holiday season.
The holiday season is a time of festivities and celebrations, yet, each year there are tragic reports ranging from house fires to burglaries that could have been avoided with preparation. With this in mind, the experts from Rave Mobile Safety, creators of the acclaimed public safety service Smart911, are celebrating the season by offering a free eBook and checklist to help ensure a fun and safe holiday season for individuals and families.
The Smart911 eBook “Helpful Hints for Holiday Safety,” and a “Holiday Safety Checklist,” are both now available for download, offering advice and actions to take on such important topics as:
- Keeping Burglars at Bay: While it may seem like family and friends are the only ones commenting on your Facebook posts, a profile can be seen by a much wider audience. Just as you wouldn’t announce travel plans to a stranger, never post this information on social media. The FBI reports nearly 400,000 burglaries occur in the U.S. during the holidays and thieves look for signs that occupants are away. Also, avoid having large displays of gifts that can be seen through your windows. When traveling, have someone collect your mail, consider an automatic timer for your lights, stop newspaper delivery, make sure your snow is shoveled and keep a vehicle in the driveway if possible.
- Safely Traveling Near and Far: Take your time and allow extra driving time! For an average trip across town, driving even 10 mph faster will only save minutes, but it will increase your crash risk by as much as 50 percent. Be prepared for emergency situations on the road by having a “survival kit” in the vehicle. This should include such items as a working flashlight, extra batteries, reflective triangles, first aid kit, windshield cleaner, an ice scraper and shovel, along with high energy foods.
- Lessen your Fire Risk: According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking is the leading cause of household fires. Have an extinguisher handy and never leave the area when cooking, and because a busy kitchen means an increased risk of accidents, keep additional people away. Candles should be used with caution – 13 percent of home fires begin with decorations catching fire – so keep them clear of anything flammable and never in a child’s care. Make sure smoke detectors are working and have fresh batteries. When using a fireplace, be certain the flue is open and never burn wrapping paper – this burns intensely and can cause a flash fire. Also, according to the National Fire Protection Association, decorative lights start an average of 170 home fires each year. Inspect all lights – indoor or outdoor, new or old – for damaged sockets, frayed or bare wires and faulty connections. A single extension cord should have no more than three standard-size light sets. When hanging outdoor lights, use hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks.
- Decorate with Care: When putting up decorations, use a proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. When climbing a ladder, always grip the rungs and not the side rails, and keep three points of contact at all times (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand). Make sure your ladder is on solid ground and be sure to have someone on-hand as a “spotter.” When outdoors, get down from a ladder during inclement weather – high winds can blow you off and precipitation can make rungs and the ground slippery. Don’t place mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and other poisonous plants within reach of children. Also, keep tinsel, ornaments (and toys) that have small parts, metal hooks, or look like candy, out of reach of children and pets. And when you’re visiting, remember your host’s household may not be child-proofed, so keep a watchful eye.
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 33 states and more than 450 municipalities. 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.