The holiday season is a time for family and friends to enjoy being together, opening gifts, sharing meals, and creating memories. Whether you're finding the perfect gift at a mall or traveling over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house, safety is an important part of keeping your holidays merry and bright.
No matter your location or plans, one of the most effective ways to ensure the safety of yourself and others is situational awareness. This time of year finds malls, stores, and parking lots crowded with families and shoppers rushing home with their treasures. All of the added hustle and bustle, noise, and arms full of packages make it difficult to remain mindful of everything else happening around you. If something seems out of place, don't ignore it. And always know the location of your nearest exit--keeping in mind that it might not be the way you came in or the store's main entrance.
Being aware of your surroundings starts by thinking ahead and being observant.
In a parking lot, choose a spot in a well-lit area if you plan to depart after dark. Even if you're unsure, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Before heading back to your car, ensure you have your keys in-hand and ready to use.
If alone, don't hesitate to ask for a security escort or a friend to walk you to your car.
Too, as you move on to stop #427 of the day, ensure any packages left in your vehicle are out of sight so as to not make you or your car a target.
Situational awareness extends beyond crowds at the mall and parking lots. The holidays bring special events like tree lighting ceremonies, school concerts, and events at a place of worship. Be mindful of noises that are out of the ordinary. Proper situational awareness allows you to enjoy these events by paying attention to people or sounds that are not normal for the event.
So what do you do if you find yourself in an unsafe situation? Remember these key reactions: Run, Hide, Fight, Aid.
Your first instinct is almost always right -- RUN. Knowing where the exits are allows you to flee danger quickly. If running is not possible for any reason -- HIDE. Get low and keep solid objects between yourself and the source of danger. And sometimes, if the danger is right in front of you and you have no opportunity to run or hide -- FIGHT. Use all tools at your disposal--your shopping bag(s), a book, chair, or anything else--and protect yourself and your loved ones. Finally, when safe to do so, offer AID. Providing medical aid, with a focus on stopping the bleed, can dramatically increase survivability in a critical incident.
What about travel? Weather and road conditions warrant a safety check as well.
Review the weather forecast in advance, know your route and road conditions, and ensure your vehicle is properly prepared to help you arrive safely.
Remember to carry traction devices or snow tires and know how to put them on before you find yourself on the side of the road in the snow and ice. (We recommend YouTube for some great instructional videos on how to put on various traction devices.)
Be mindful of where you pull over. Make sure that anywhere you stop is safe for yourself and other vehicles on the road.
Speaking of vehicles, are you prepared if you're stranded in your vehicle for any length of time? Road closures, deep snow drifts, and icy conditions are known for wreaking havoc on travelers. Ensure you have some food and water packed along with extra blankets, road flares, a shovel, and a medical kit.
Venturing out into the woods to harvest the family Christmas tree? That's an important time to carry the appropriate medical kit. Even the most careful among us can have accidents, especially when snow and ice are in the mix. Whether using an axe, chainsaw, or saw, it is imperative that your medical kit is equipped with a tourniquet and that you and your family know how to use it. Furthermore, if using a chainsaw, take proper precautions and make sure all safety features are functioning properly before you go.
Need a tourniquet? Need a complete medical kit? We're here to help. Visit our online store and use coupon code "Con10" for 10% off first aid products from now until December 24, 2019.
Finally, the holidays are full of celebrations, so make sure you have alternative plans for safe travel if you're "celebrating" a little more than normal. There's always a reason to celebrate with family and friends, but there's never a reason (or excuse) to drink and drive. No matter how short the trip, make plans to use a ride share, take a cab, or appoint a designated driver if you've had too much to drink. There is no one who wouldn't appreciate the gift of arriving home safely.
Enjoy your holiday traditions with family and friends! Keep in mind the safety considerations above and ensure the season remains "the most wonderful time of the year" for you and those around you. And if your New Year resolution includes helping your family, workplace, or house of worship improve safety preparedness, please keep us in mind. We'd be honored to help you and yours stay safe into the New Year and beyond.