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24 Ways to Stay Safe for the Holidays

MetroWest Public Safety offers tips for keeping your home and family safe this holiday season.  

With the holiday season just around the corner, MetroWest Public Safety would like to remind the community of some helpful tips to help keep you safe, both at home and while you’re doing your holiday shopping

Store Shopping

Make a mental note of where you park your car or put a note in your cell phone.

Be alert to your surroundings and have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.

Bring a friend! Shop in pairs when possible.

Don’t buy more than you can carry.

Save all receipts to help verify purchases.

Keep credit cards out of view of others so they can’t take pictures of them and hide your pin number.

Advise security officers if you observe unattended bags.

Wear purses in cross body fashion and close to your body. Keep your purse snapped or zipped closed.

Lock all purchases in trunk to keep out of view.

When shopping with children, designate a meeting place in case you get separated. Let them know to seek assistance from store employees or a person in uniform. 

Online Shopping

Update the security software on your computer and regularly change your passwords.

Use secure, well-known websites. Look for a locked padlock icon at bottom for PC or in URL box on MAC. Look for “https” in URL address.

Shop with companies that you know and trust. Google company names to obtain background information on unfamiliar sites. 

Be careful of bargains or deals from unfamiliar companies. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Around the Home

As you unpack your holiday decorations, check them for any damage. If you find damaged sockets, loose wires or bad connections, throw the decorations away. 

Don’t overload electrical outlets. Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are common causes of holiday fires.  

Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights. More than three strands may not only blow a fuse, but can also cause a fire. 

Keep your Christmas tree fresh by watering it daily. A dry tree is a serious fire hazard.

Switch to battery-operated candles. Candles start almost half of home decoration fires and battery-operated alternatives are plentiful and attractive.

Keep combustible items, including decorations, at least three feet from heat sources (fireplace, space heater, etc.). 

Protect electric cords from damage. Cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors and windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources, or attached by nails or staples. 

Check decorations for certification label. Decorations not bearing a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Intertek (ETL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous. 

Don’t leave the kitchen when something is cooking. Unattended cooking equipment can lead to a home cooking fire.

When you’re leaving the house or going to bed, turn off, unplug and extinguish all decorations, especially candles (if you haven’t switched to battery-operated candles).  

Have a safe holiday season!


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Written by Matt Richardson

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