Holidays are around the corner, and the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management offers these tips to help you stay safe this holiday — which is a peak time for congested travel and online schemes, but also a chance for families to talk about their preparedness plan while they are together.
When your family is gathered under one roof this season, consider discussing your disaster preparedness and evacuation plans with your loved ones. If you have someone visiting from another state, consider asking them to be your out-of-state contact. After a disaster, everyone in your household should have the contact’s phone number to check in as safe, as local phone lines may be overloaded or out of service and it may be easier to text or call long distance.
Use the following brochures to kickstart you holiday preparedness discussions:
Be weather wise year-round and everywhere you go.
- Learn the weather/climate risks for the area you are traveling to and know what to do before, during and after such events.
- Always travel with an emergency kit in your vehicle to be always prepared.
- Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
- Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
- Be well rested and alert before getting on the road. If you’re too tired during driving, stop and get some rest.
Decorating your home is one of the best ways to get in a festive mood, but thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating occur every season.
- Turn off holiday lights and decorations at night or when you leave the house.
- Keep candles away from flammable materials.
- Place your tree at least 3 feet away from fireplaces and other heat sources, making certain not to block doorways.
- Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower tree branches where small children can reach them.
- Replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
- Do not overload an electric outlet or extension cord.
Holiday Shopping online
Shop securely online over the holidays.
- Secure your personal computers by updating your security software. It is recommended that every computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed.
- Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to share your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact.
- Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar. If a website offers a deal that seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock or “https” in the URL address.
- Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.