alert - warning

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Stay Safe this Holiday Season

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For many, the next month will be a time for decorating, traveling, cooking and shopping. While we spend as much time with family and friends as we can, it’s important to take steps to stay safe.

Check the Weather Before You Travel

It’s a good idea to know the weather forecast before you travel, so that you can plan properly. If you see there is an approaching winter storm, stay off the roads.

Having an emergency kit in your car can also help you be prepared for anything that might happen on the road. Your kit should include food and water, as well as emergency winter road tools such as an ice scraper, shovel, gloves, blanket, emergency flares or reflectors, rock salt, first aid kit, extra windshield washer and more.

Consider Fire Safety When Decorating

Flammable seasonal decorations, dry Christmas trees and more time spent in the kitchen all contribute to a higher number of home fires during the holiday season. Follow these tips to prevent home fires:

  • Turn off holiday lights at night or when you leave the house.
  • Don’t overload extension cords.
  • Keep candles away from flammable materials. Consider using flameless candles during Kwanzaa or Hanukkah celebrations.
  • Make sure to have working smoke alarms close to where anyone may be sleeping.
  • Keep your Christmas tree watered: don’t let your holiday tree dry out.

Check out this video to see how much faster a dry tree will catch fire compared to a well-watered one.

Stay Alert When Online Shopping

When you’re shopping online for gifts, remember to be careful with personal information. Follow these cybersecurity tips when you shop:

  • Connect with care. Do your online shopping at home, and make sure your wireless network is protected. 
  • Set strong passwords and change your password often. Don’t set passwords that will be easy for cyber criminals to guess. 
  • Shop online through trusted retailers to avoid getting scammed. 
  • During the holidays, scammers may send fake emails that are too good to be true. Don't click on links! 

Check in on Your Mental health

The holidays can be filled with a lot of emotions that aren’t always positive. You may be missing a loved one or a recent disaster could still be weighing on your family. In these difficult times, we can experience overwhelming feelings of sadness and loss, rather than feelings of joy and cheer.

Be patient with yourself as you continue to heal. Try these strategies:

  • To feel better in the long run, you need to take time to grieve and cry. Do not push your feelings away or hide them.
  • Recognize that others may respond to the situation differently.
  • Be sure to get enough rest and sleep. Sleep can help to relieve stress.
  • Spend time with family and friends during the holiday season. Do not isolate yourself.
  • Acknowledge that you have been through a significant event, and it will take time to heal.

Call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 for immediate help and support.