As the holiday season approaches we find ourselves in many situations where we have to be especially vigilant about our health and safety. We often get caught up in the revelry of numerous parties, social events and family obligations. There is also the preeminent drive towards getting all things done, on schedule and wrapped up perfectly! However, there are some general safety tips we can follow to help make this time of year especially meaningful and serene.
Top Ten Ways to Increase Your Safety as You Fulfill all of Your Holiday Obligations, Errands and To Do Lists:
1. Slow Down: Many errands make for less awareness about our surroundings. Try to take the time to be consciously aware of your location in all situations and not to be constantly in a "mad dash" to get everything done at once. Try and spread out errands and if possible, try and finish most during daylight hours.
2. ATM Smarts: Always be careful when entering your personal information (PIN number) and if you feel uncomfortable with people milling about the area, then move onto another ATM in a different location. Also, daylight is your friend when taking out sums of money from ATMs; as the chances of being robbed are greater at night, especially if you are by yourself.
3. Avoid carrying around large amounts of money or obviously valuable items such as computers, tablets or visibly expensive jewelry.
4. Try to stay in well lit areas with much traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular, and try and avoid obvious trouble spots with known criminal elements or dark, deserted locations.
5. When carrying purchases, try to not get bogged down by way too many packages. If your hands are fully occupied, then the chances of you protecting yourself are dramatically reduced.
6. When carrying a purse, be aware of how you carry it (closer the better): It should be closed securely and should not be put down (even for a couple of seconds) to minimize risk of theft and should also contain only the minimal amount of identification and credit or debit cards.
7. If driving, always park in the best lit section of the parking lot, especially if you are arriving or leaving after dark with a clear and unobstructed view of the mall or building entrances and away from areas which may offer shelter to criminals (clumps of trees or large garbage bins).
8. When returning to your vehicle, always check around its perimeter and look inside before entering. Also, if you have to access your trunk to load packages, then make sure to do a visual sweep of the area so that you are not surprised and possibly even pushed into the trunk itself.
9. Never leave your car running unattended and if ever confronted by a carjacking situation then give up the car, keys, purse and get away from potentially becoming a kidnap victim.
10. Return to your well-lit home and try to avoid leaving your door unlocked, for even a few minutes, as you carry in multiple packages. If possible, wait until other family members or neighbors are around for security, plus you may benefit from the additional bonus of them sharing the carrying load.
These top ten safety tips are largely based on the general principles of safety awareness and vigilance. You must be consciously aware of your surroundings, know where you are going, have an action plan and anticipate any threats to your safety. With these factors in mind your holiday rush can be much less stressful as you have become a HARD TARGET for danger or violence.
Over the next week or so, I will follow up with more in the series, "Eat, Drink and be Merry... With an Eye on Your Safety" with specific discussion on the topics of Holiday Party Safety and Holiday Travelling Safety.
Stay Safe, Live Well!