Whether you’re staying home or going away for the holiday season, CAA Saskatchewan wants residents to remember some safety tips.
Home for the Holidays Safety Tips:
- Ensure artificial Christmas trees are “fire resistant” and that live trees are always fresh and moist. Set up live and artificial trees away from fireplaces, heaters, and other heat sources.
- Inspect holiday lights for broken, frayed or loose connections and throw out damaged sets. Turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house. Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into ground fault circuit interrupters.
- Keep decorations away from lights, candles, heaters, fireplaces, etc. Place candles in non-combustible containers and never leave burning candles unattended.
- As you buy your gifts, it’s a safe idea to keep packaging of high-priced items out of sight. Don’t give burglars a shopping list of what they might find in your home. Keep watch for any suspicious behaviour in your neighbourhood and report any questionable observations to the proper authorities.
- Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children. Do not leave cooking or baking unattended.
- Have the chimney and furnace professionally cleaned and inspected. Ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working.
Away from Home for the Holidays Safety Tips:
- Suspend newspaper delivery. Arrange for someone to pick up your mail or contact the service to store it until your return.
- Show discretion on social media, never letting folks know you are away from home.
- Ensure all doors and windows are locked. For sliding doors, use specially designed bars or locks to prevent the door from being lifted out of its track.
- Use timers for lights and possibly the TV or radio.
- Turn off your water supply or have someone enter the home and check on things daily to ensure the pipes are not frozen. (This is a requirement of most insurance policies during the winter months).
- Ask a neighbour to shovel snow around your driveway and sidewalks. Encourage neighbours to use your driveway so it looks like someone is coming and going on a regular basis.
- Leave blinds or curtains in normal position – don’t close them completely.
- Consider installing security bars on basement windows especially those shielded from view or in the back of the house.
- Close and lock the garage door. Keep your vehicle locked, especially if it has an electric garage door opener. If you notice signs of forced entry when you return home, do not go inside. Call the police from a neighbour’s home.
- Make sure your home insurance is up to date and that it will provide coverage for your belongings. Advise your insurance broker of any changes required for major purchases or renovations.
Jetting away for the Holidays Safety Tips:
- Check your booked flights frequently. Flight cancellations and delays are likely during peak periods. Also check your flight status prior to driving to the airport.
- Know your airline’s cancellation policy. Some airlines may be waiving fees and issuing changes due to possible rebooking policies.
- Monitor weather conditions – both for the departure and destination cities.
- Don’t forget your travel insurance.
- Make sure your passport is up to date and is valid for time required by the country or countries visited. Make photocopies of your passport, credit cards, etc. and leave a copy at home with family or friends and keep a photocopy with you along with the originals stored in a separate location.
- Pack any medications in their original containers and store in your carry-on bags.
- Weigh your packed luggage to avoid additional airline charges.
- Booked with CAA Travel? Stay connected with your local CAA Travel consultant for assistance.
- Know your Air Passenger Rights. Learn more at caask.ca/airtravellers
Road Trip Holiday Safety Tips:
- Check weather and road conditions before you travel. Allow extra time to reach your destination safely. Be prepared to reduce your speed and drive with caution.
- Remember, slow to 60 km/h on Saskatchewan highways for working tow truck operators and emergency responders.
- Check your vehicle’s battery. Extreme weather weakens the battery and may require charging.
- Make sure the block heater cord is not frayed. Always plug in at minus 15 degrees Celsius.
- Remove ice and snow from your vehicle for clear visibility.
- Pack a roadside kit including extra outdoor clothing, footwear, a mobile phone with charger (for emergency use only or for CAA Roadside Assistance), non-perishable food, drinking water, a shovel, window ice scraper and brush, plus booster cables. Roadside assistance kits are available at all CAA Stores or online.
- Keep a full tank or at minimum a half tank of fuel. This helps reduce moisture in the gas tank plus it adds weight to your vehicle.
- Check the tire pressure regularly. The right pressure is important for traction and fuel efficiency. CAA recommends a good set of winter tires as the rubber compound in winter tires allows for better traction and control.