December 26, 2012 - 6:14 PM
Now that the presents are unwrapped, a few tips from the RCMP about safety should help residents continue to have a safe and happy holiday season.
To prevent fire, police say it's best to get rid of properly watered, fresh Christmas trees after ten to fourteen days, but the tree should be checked periodically for signs of dryness. Needles dropping and/or turning brown, sharp and brittle are all signs a tree is drying out and poses a fire hazard. Other fire hazards include burning wrappings, boxes and cartons in the fireplace.
If you're traveling and suspect a crime is in progress at your home when you return, or has occurred while away, phone police immediately. RCMP say it is not safe to enter the home until it's inspected. It's best to use a cell phone or neighbour's phone and to not touch anything or disturb the scene before an investigation is complete. Note anything suspicious such as strange cars, their licence plates or people hanging around.
With New Year's coming up Mounties would like people to put together a plan for prevent drinking and driving and to keep guests safe. Never serve drinks to minors and post a drinks guide in plain view so guests will know what's expected. Guests might also be encouraged to announce their designated driver upon arrival or to take a taxi or other public transit to the event or party. They might even choose to walk.
Staying sober or drinking little as host is a great way to remain aware of what others are doing. Knowing your guests makes it easier to detect changes in behaviour. Keep an eye on the amount each guest is drinking or designate a responsible adult to bartend.
Stop serving alcohol an hour before the party ends and see guests off as they leave. Make sure there's cash on hand and phone numbers if a cab is necessary.
Serving food with protein and fat is a better option than salty snacks which makes people thirsty, or sugar which can enhance the effects of alcohol. Having plenty of non-alcoholic choices can curb the urge for harder drinks.
Some guest may still become drunk and the host can request car keys and team up with a friend to urge them from the guest. Taking the initiative by calling a cab and delaying the guest until the cab arrives makes it difficult for them to refuse the ride. A very drunk guest may have to stay the night so be prepared to offer a spare bed, or wait until another responsible adult can take them into their care. Food or drinks such as coffee will not sober someone up, only time can do that. Finally, if someone insists on driving, police should be called. It could be the difference between an upset friend or something far worse.
Operation Red Nose is in full swing until Dec. 31 between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. The volunteer driving service will drive you and your vehicle home. Donations to the program are redistributed to youth local youth organizations.
Check out the Operation Red Nose website for details on the program and local phone numbers.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012