Stay safe over the holidays

“Don’t drink and drive.”

We’re inundated with that message on the tube, radio, cyberspace and in our last column.

“Don’t drink and drive.”

We’re inundated with that message on the tube, radio, cyberspace and in our last column, yet we seem to still get drunks behind the wheel, more so during the holidays. How can we make this a historical year with no alcohol-related vehicle accidents?

Of course the obvious answer is “take responsibility for your behavior,” but common sense is not always so common.

Teens know the cost of combining alcohol and driving from the excellent community PARTY-Prevent Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth program (www.partyprogram.org) and the recent MADD junior high presentation. Let’s be sure adults follow our youths’ smart lead.

What other threats lurk and how can we prevent them from dampening our Christmas?

Candles should be placed on a flat surface away from drapes, trees or flammables and don’t leave them unattended or available for the cat to knock over. Extinguish them at night or when leaving your house. Watch children around any flame or fireplace. That gas unit with metal sides and dancing flames is a magnet to tiny hands.

Wood fireplaces/heaters? Make sure the flue is open with a clean chimney. Firefighters would like the holiday too and your insurance company doesn’t want the paper work.

Not everyone wants you to have a great Christmas. Santa’s sleigh looks fabulous with gifts piled high for all to see. That pile is irresistible to creeps who count on Christmas to fill their stockings with your goodies. Santa says not to copy him with gifts piled high in your vehicle. Put all your gifts in the trunk or the back seat of your pick-up so you’re not inviting low lives. Make sure your wallet is protected and not in your rear pocket, guys. And ladies, your handbag’s strap shouldn’t be around your neck. A thief will take you to the ground using the strap. He will still have your purse and you could be injured from the fall. Place it over one shoulder with the accompanying hand on the purse itself. And please, be aware of your surroundings when shopping so you’re not viewed by thieves as a victim.

Kids will scramble after gift displays and assorted shiny objects. Shop with friends and keep an eye on each others’ kids. This is a favourite time for pedophiles.

Jonathan McCormick and Denny Fahrentholz are columnists with Rural Crime Watch.

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