Considering all of the events and celebrations this time of year, the holidays and health don’t always go hand-in-hand. And while overindulging in your favorite treat — or even alcoholic cheer — is generally not a fatal flaw, most experts recommend that party-goers take a more moderate approach during gatherings.
There are, however, other precautions worth keeping in mind to help you and your loved ones remain safe and avoid more dire consequences into and beyond the New Year.
Finkelstein & Partners, LLP Injury Attorneys offer these common-sense tips for enjoying the most festive time of year with a minimum amount of worry.
SAFE AT HOME
- Lock your windows and doors (deadbolts are best), regardless of whether or not you are home. Even though that strategy sounds like a no-brainer, it’s a key component of thwarting would-be crooks looking for easy access.
- While you’re away, keep valuables out of view of someone looking through a window who otherwise might be tempted to make off with them.
- Make sure to turn on lights inside your home while you’re shopping at night. Using automatic light timers can take the worry out of not being home in time to switch on lights and are a good way to keep potential thieves guessing.
Making the bad guys hesitate as little as a minute or two can make the difference between being completely wiped out or keeping your presents and packages among your possessions.
- When at the store, be careful to secure your wallet or purse from grab-and-run types hoping for a quick hit.
- Watch out for roving eyes aimed at the keypad as you log in numbers, from PINS to passwords.
- Using money orders, gift cards, or disposable credit cards at the store is a good way to foil massive breaches of credit and debit cards that have happened at some major retailers in the past year or so.
- Remember that it’s a lot safer to bring packages home from the store during daylight hours than it is in when it’s dark.
- Before cyber-shopping, keep hackers at bay by changing your password and making sure it has no personal information included. To make things even more challenging, intersperse uppercase and lowercase letters with numerals in your password.
- While surfing the Internet or checking your email, be wary of new or odd-looking Web sites offering come-ons that look too good to be true — they usually are! It’s better to stick with tried-and-true sites that you have already used without having any scamming issues.
Recent breaches of big-box stores’s cyber-security systems has given crooks reams of email addresses, which can lead to a variety of “phishing” schemes. Besides bilking you of money, those sites can cause computer-killing viruses or saddle you with unwanted spyware.
- Some things can’t be overstated, such as heeding warnings about drinking and driving. Simply put, the two don’t mix and can cause problems that last way past the holiday season. Moreover, police are on extra alert for drivers who have had one too many.
- Before heading out on a longer trip, consider that there are a lot of other anxious travelers like you clogging roads. The best plan is to give yourself extra travel time and try to familiarize yourself with your destination area to avoid sudden stops or sharp turns that could cause an accident.
- Have your car checked, making sure there is proper air pressure in winter-ready tires and that engine belts and fluid levels are up to snuff.
- Always bring maps, a cell phone and charger, and winter survival gear — blankets, extra drinking water, snacks, and a flashlight with charged batteries — in case you are stranded.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6,000 people end up in emergency rooms annually after falls, mostly a result of slipping from ladders outdoors.
- When using a ladder to hang lights or decorations, make sure the base of the ladder is level and that you step in the center of clean and dry rungs when ascending.
- Never stand on the top two rungs, and have a buddy secure the ladder from below.
- When stringing lights, check for exposed wires or other defects, and always hang outdoor-rated lighting on insulated hooks for the home’s exterior.
- Inside the house, check each light strand for flaws before stringing. Keep trees well watered to prevent drying, which makes them more susceptible to fires.
Finkelstein & Partners was founded in 1959 by Howard S. Finkelstein and is devoted to giving back to the community. Finkelstein & Partners have grown from one office in Newburgh, N.Y., to multiple offices with a staff of more than 30 attorneys and 50 of council attorneys.
Finkelstein & Partners
1279 Route 300
P.O. Box 1111
Newburgh, NY 12551
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