Tips to keep your home, family safe this holiday season

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 9:37 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The holiday season is a busy time of year but in the hustle and bustle, safety agencies want to remind you to take the extra precautions to keep your home and your family safe.

Many may be heading out of town to visit with loved ones or are getting last-minute packages delivered.

Lt. Chris Monahan with the Harrisonburg Police Department said there are a few things you can do to protect your home from theft.

“It’s multifaced as far as what you need to do. If you are going to leave town, make sure to let a neighbor know. Make sure you leave your house well lit, and if you’re getting those holiday packages, make sure you schedule those deliveries when you will be home or you have somebody checking on them throughout the day,” Monahan said.

For any college students leaving town, Monahan said to make sure you lock your doors and he asks people in the area to report any suspicious activity. He said there will also be more police presence throughout the city to keep an eye on commercial businesses.

“Commercial businesses obviously thrive in this time of year. It is important for them to know that we are doing our part as a police agency to take care of them,” Monahan said.

With more traffic on the road for the holidays, Monahan added it is important to not drive distracted and have a designated driver if you will be drinking.

Lt. Leslie Snyder with the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office said after the holidays, it is a good idea to break down any boxes, especially expensive items, and put them in a trash bag and not on the street. This way people do not know what new gifts you got.

For those who are staying home for the holidays, Harrisonburg Fire Chief Matthew Tobia said it is important to keep your Christmas trees watered and never leave candles unattended.

If you will be cooking, he provided the following safety tips:

  • Do not leave a stove unattended.
  • If flames show up on your stovetop, put the lid back on the pot. This will help exclude the air and put the fire out.
  • For oven fires, leave the door shut and call 911.

Tobia added to never hesitate to call 911 for any and all emergencies.

“During the holiday season it is a unique opportunity for families to get together and there is so much joy and excitement around that time, people don’t want to perceive to be a bother and they don’t want to interrupt the activities that are going on,” Tobia said. “Unfortunately, what can happen is a family member can be experiencing a medical emergency, you know a stroke or a heart attack or chest pain, trouble breathing, and they will delay calling 911.”

“If you have a family member who during the celebration of the holidays experiences a medical emergency, please do not delay calling 911. We are honored to serve,” he said.

Free carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are available at Harrisonburg fire stations.

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