It’s a busy time of year but Valley organizations are reminding residents not to forget about safety during the holidays.

Sheree Lee, community programs officer for the Phoenix Police Department, said there are a number of simple tips people can follow to stay safe and keep their home from being a target.

If you plan on traveling, use automatic timers for your lights to make it appear that people are still home. Ask a trusted neighbor to watch over your home and pick up any packages or newspapers that are delivered. Also make sure your garbage can is not left out after collection day as that’s a sign that the home is empty.

If you’re leaving just for the night, leave the lights or a TV on. Make sure all doors are locked and keep gifts out of sight.

While shopping it’s important to stay alert. Park in well-lit areas and keep your car doors locked. Hide valuables in the trunk and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Never leave a purse in the shopping cart while you browse and keep wallets in an inside coat pocket or the front pants pocket.

If any solicitors come to your home ask for ID. If you have any reason to be leery, call police. The number for Crime Stop is (602) 262-6151. If you need immediate assistance, dial 911.

Fires are also a problem during the holiday season. Fire officials suggest having your chimney cleaned before using the fireplace for the first time. It’s also a good idea to not overload electrical outlets with too many appliances or lights. Some decorations can be prone to fire if left near hot lights too long.

When shopping for a Christmas tree, choose one that is green and fresh. If a needle doesn’t bend without breaking, it’s too dry. When you bring it home make sure the tree has plenty of water to stay fresh longer. A dried out Christmas tree can be consumed by fire in less than 30 seconds, according to the fire department. Always turn off the lights on your tree when you leave the house.

Keep all bulbs turned away from any gifts or paper ornaments. Keep candles in places where they can’t be tipped over and never use candles near the Christmas tree.

Dispose of wrapping paper as soon as possible once the gifts are opened and get the Christmas tree out of the house as quickly as you can.

As always, make sure smoke alarms are in working order.


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