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Holiday safety tips

Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro


The holiday season is officially here and there is much to do to prepare. In addition to finishing off the remainder of the semester, there are presents to buy, Santa photos to take, traveling to be done and gatherings to plan and prepare for. Perhaps you are one of those people who roll your eyes at the thought of all of this, but it is essential to prioritize your safety and that of the people you gather with. Here are a few holiday season safety tips:

For many of us, this season involves traveling. Be it from your dorm room to your home, or from your home to a relative’s, road safety is important. If you are traveling alone, it is a good idea to have your route planned in advance and to let someone know of your expected route, times and any other pertinent information, such as flight numbers. If you are driving, either alone or with your family, be sure that your vehicle is in good condition. This means that the oil levels are topped off, brakes and lights are in working order and the tires are also in good condition, among other things. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are relying on public transportation. Check local laws to see if it is legal to carry pepper spray, if that is something that would make you feel safer.

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Online shopping is a huge convenience for people and more so with busy college students. If you are too busy or overwhelmed and unable to go to the store to shop, places like Amazon and Etsy will have your back. As the Rhode Island College Police Department has warned us in the past, protection from online scams is essential to financial health. It is important to be vigilant about online transactions, and watch your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized activity. Avoid using public Wi-Fi for transactions, or use a VPN if you must use a public connection. Use secure websites for sensitive transactions and if you use a shared computer, don't store your personal information and account numbers on that computer.

This next topic may sound a little odd, but hear me out. There are more fire hazards during the holiday season than any other season, so it is important to watch out while decking the halls. Check all holiday lights, old and new, for signs of wear and tear. A frayed electrical cord of any type is a dangerous cord. Never leave real candles unattended as one wrong move can engulf a house in flames in no time. Going along with this theme, keep flammable objects away from heat sources. If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure it is well watered to prevent combustion.

As always, keeping yourself healthy is important too. Ensure proper hydration and sleep, but also make time for physical activity. Be mindful of alcohol consumption and for the general wellbeing of everyone around you, arrange for a designated driver or an Uber or Lyft if you plan on drinking.

COVID-19 and respiratory illnesses are in full swing, so practicing good health habits, such as hand hygiene, are important. Consider getting the latest COVID booster and flu shot if you have not already. If you are traveling, stay up to date with the health advisories in the areas you will be frequenting. If you are not feeling well, just stay home.

Mental health is just as important this time of year. A lot of people struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of depression. Yet others struggle with other issues this time of year as well: perhaps it is the first holiday season without a loved one or perhaps someone is down on their luck, underemployed and struggling to make ends meet. Reach out to your friends, family or professional if you need to, but also remember to be kind to others and to be that ear for someone if they need it.

As we embrace the holiday spirit, we all have much to accomplish and be thankful for. Let’s all be proactive in looking out for ourselves and others. Doing so can help to create a safe, joy filled, environment for all.

The Anchor Newspaper staff and I would like to wish everyone and their loved ones a happy, healthy and safe holiday season. Happy holidays from our family to yours.


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