For many families, the 2022 Holiday Season is beginning to return to a 'new normal' after COVID. We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!
Festive celebrations, flickering lights, candles and winter greens are hallmarks of the holiday season, but they also present fire risks that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a devastating one. Below are some safety resources from the NFPA to help you stay safe.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. Kids love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important when there is a lot of activity and people at home. NFPA Cooking Safety
Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
Keep knives out of the reach of children.
Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button
Carefully decorating your home can help make your holidays safer. Between 2016-2020, US fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. US fire departments responded to an estimated average of 790 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees.
Christmas tree disposal As Christmas trees dry out, they become more and more flammable. Thirty percent of Christmas tree fires were in January. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, they can grow very fast.
Holiday shopping tips
Avoid accidents, theft and other holiday shopping pitfalls by reading this list and checking it twice.
When the busiest shopping weekend of the year arrives, if you'll be one of the millions of holiday shoppers, take some extra precautions with your personal information and purchases to protect yourself during the holiday. Be sure to check out these holiday savings tips too before you shop.
From fistfights to identity theft, shopping during the holidays brings a few safety risks. Consider these holiday shopping safety tips:
Keep your purse close to your body or your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket.
Don't argue or fight over an item.
Don't take your money out until asked and don't flash a lot of cash.
Use only one credit card. Data breaches have occurred in the past at major retailers and credit card companies. Should something similar occur, you can reduce the risk of having multiple cards compromised.
Save your receipts and monitor your credit card activity by reviewing your bill immediately or periodically checking the online app.
Ask for help moving and loading large items if needed.
If shopping with children, select a central location to meet in case you are separated. Teach kids how to ask a security guard or employee for help if they're lost.
How can I be safer in the car?
With so many people out and about, you may encounter aggressive drivers on the road. Don't add to the problem: Remember to drive defensively and don't allow road rage to rise. Parking lots can be dangerous too, so be on guard:
Be patient when looking for a parking space. Don't speed up to catch that empty (or soon-to-be empty) spot and be cautious of other drivers who do.
Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
Don't leave anything valuable in your car.
Lock your vehicle.
Make a mental note of where you parked.
Have your keys in hand when walking back to your vehicle.
Look around and under your vehicle before approaching it.
Store shopping bags out of plain sight, in your trunk if possible.
Look for other cars or people, and back out slowly.
The Norwalk Police would like to remind the community to please lock your cars and take your fobs wherever you may be. During the holiday season theft from autos increases. Criminals know you may have gifts in your car while you shop, especially if they are visible; as well as purses and wallets. If possible, please place your items of value in your trunk while you are away from your car and remember to lock it.
How to stay safe when shopping online
Opting to join Black Friday online or Cyber Monday from your couch? You still need to be on the lookout for holiday scams and identity theft.
Stick to retailers you know and, preferably, have shopped with before.
Research a business you haven't purchased from before by checking customer reviews or complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
Never commit to a deal that seems too good to be true.
Avoid using a debit card since dispute reimbursements may be less than credit cards.
Refrain from using public Wi-Fi to make purchases, or use a VPN to avoid hackers intercepting your information.
Check a webpage's security by looking for the lock icon in the URL field, and making sure the URL starts with "https", not just "http". The "s" means the site is safer and more secure.
Mail Theft during the holidays
Mail theft is on the rise, and the holiday season is of special interest to criminals, who frequently check mailboxes and your front doors for envelopes and packages left unattended. Please empty your mailboxes as soon as possible daily and bring in your packages. Please report mail theft to the Norwalk Police and The United States Post office Postal Inspector at (877)8762455 and WWW.USPIS.GOV. Don’t give criminals the chance
Traveling for the Holidays? Be Prepared
If you're traveling this year, be sure your vehicle is in good running condition, get plenty of rest and be prepared for any emergency. Traveling by car during the holidays has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Hundreds of people die every year in crashes on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, according to Injury Facts. Alcohol impairment is involved in about a third of these fatalities.
Stay safe on the roads over the holidays — and every day:
Prepare your car for winter and keep an emergency kit with you
Get a good night’s sleep before departing and avoid drowsy driving
Leave early, planning ahead for heavy traffic
Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance traveled
Put that cell phone away; many distractions occur while driving, but cell phones are the main culprit
Practice defensive driving
Designate a sober driver to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party; alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription and illegal drugs can cause impairment
It's Better to Give Safely
Gifts and toys should inspire joy, not cause injuries. Thousands of children are seriously injured in toy-related incidents every year. Avoid safety hazards while gifting with these tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
Toys are age-rated for safety, not for children’s intellect and physical ability, so be sure to choose toys in the correct age range
Choose toys for children under 3 that do not have small parts which could be choking hazards
For children under 10, avoid toys that must be plugged into an electrical outlet