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While the holiday season is an opportunity to bring families together for some good food, quality time and fun, it's also essential to take a few precautions to ensure that everyone is staying safe.
Officials from Las Vegas Fire & Rescue and the Las Vegas Department of Public Safety have some tips to keep everyone safe.
Avoiding Car Break-Ins
- Make sure to lock your vehicle doors.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. It is better to take them with you rather than hide them.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Always be aware of the area/surroundings you are parking in.
- When getting gas, lock all doors except the driver's door. Do not leave your handbag or wallet out on the seat.
Staying Safe When Walking To Your Car
- When walking to/from your vehicle, always have your keys out and ready when approaching your vehicle. Beware of a stranger approaching you any reason.
- Look around and inside your vehicle before getting into your vehicle. Once you get in, lock the doors immediately.
- If you are concerned for any reason, simply walk past your vehicle and call for help. You can also ask a store employee or security to walk you out.
- Avoid talking on your cellphone while you drive and while walking in parking lots — concentrate on your driving and your surroundings.
Keeping Your Home Safe
- If traveling, get an automatic timer for your residential home lights, ask a neighbor to watch your home and to park their vehicle in your driveway from time to time. Don't forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped.
- If you are out for the evening — turn on lights and radio/tv to make it appear as if someone is home.
- Consider not posting vacation pictures on social media while you are away. This alerts others that your home may be vacant.
- Be extra cautious about locking doors/windows at your home when you leave.
- Don't display gifts where they can be seen from outside.
- Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. Be cautious when opening the door and accepting packages.
- It is not uncommon for others to take advantage of people's generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations. Ask for identifications and find out how funds will be used.
- Before guests arrive, remove items of value from the rooms where the party will be held and secure the items in a locked room.
- Provide plenty of food to keep guests from drinking on an empty stomach.
- Offer non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers.
- Be prepared to give the number of a taxi service or order an Uber ride for those who need transportation home.
- If attending parties, have a designated driver. Never drink and drive.
Being Safe Taking Cash Out Of The ATM:
- Always watch for suspicious persons or activity around an ATM.
- ATMs inside of businesses provide less opportunity for criminals.
- Be aware of anyone sitting in a vehicle in close proximity to or at a distance from an ATM location.
- If you notice anything strange, leave and return another time or go to another ATM location.
- If you get cash put it away immediately — do not stand at the ATM and count it.
- If you use a drive-up ATM — ensure your vehicle doors/windows are locked.
Being Safe When Shopping Online
- Don't give your personal information unless you are absolutely sure it is safe.
- Secure shopping means using secure servers that receive and store your personal information in encrypted form so that if anyone intercepts your transaction, they won't be able to decode the data.
- Secure site pages will have addresses starting with HTTPS rather than HTTP.
- Utilize a credit card rather than a debit card when possible. Credit card companies will typically give you immediate credit when you dispute erroneous charges.
If you ever find yourself in an emergency or witness a crime, call 911.
The holidays can be a joyous occasion for many Southern Nevada families, but don't forget to take some precautionary steps to preserve the fun.
Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Holiday Cooking Tips:
- Be alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don't use the oven or stovetop. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.
- When deep-frying turkeys, only use an approved turkey fryer with four legs and a built-in thermostat to maintain proper oil temperature. Make sure the fryer cannot tip over, a major cause of fires and injuries.
- Fry outdoors, away from buildings and other combustible items. Keep children and pets away while frying.
- Follow instructions on what size turkey should be used, how it should be cooked, and what type of oil to use. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry. Do not stuff the bird, and don't forget to take out the bag of gizzards. Lower the turkey into the hot oil slowly.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Wear fry gloves; regular oven mittens may not be insulated enough. Splashing oil can cause a flash fire and serious burns.
- Outside cooking devices used at apartment complexes must be kept at least 10 feet from any building or wall, cannot be under an overhang (such as a balcony), and cannot be used above the first floor (on patios of upper floors). Turkey fryers are included.
- Do not leave cooking food unattended in the kitchen.
In the case of a stove fire, firefighters say shut off the stove and cover the burning pan with a lid or use a fire extinguisher. Do not throw water, salt, flour, or any other substance on the fire; these substances can cause the fire to flare. Also, do not try to move a burning pan outside.
If there is a fire inside the oven, firefighters say it's important to shut it off and leave the door closed. Then, call 9-1-1 and report the fire and leave home until firefighters arrive.
The NFPA also recommends making sure smoke alarms are in working order and keeping the floor clear of obstacles.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control also offer tips to ensure your Thanksgiving meal is safe, including:
- Carefully read the labels on your turkey before cooking it.
- Use two thermometers – one to ensure the turkey is stored at the appropriate temperature and one to ensure the turkey is cooked to the appropriate temperature.
- Separate the turkey from all other foods.
- Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
- Avoid eating leftovers that have been left in the refrigerator for longer than three to four days.
Holiday Recycling Tips