Five Ways to Stay Safe During the Holidays December 15, 2014 Holiday shopping can be fun – and dangerous. Harrell and Harrell offers tips for staying safe during the harried holiday season. The Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve holidays are among the busiest times of the year for people on America’s roadways, in the stores and out on the town. Unfortunately, all that merriment can quickly turn to despair if you’re not careful. Personal injury attorneys with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell offer these five tips for staying safe during the harried holiday season. Shop smart: Muggings and thefts spike during the Christmas shopping season. Shoppers are urged to be wary of people around them while buying gifts and taking them home. Keep your wallet securely inside your purse or jacket pocket until it’s time to pay, and be particularly watchful while taking your purchases to your vehicle. Park in a well-lit area of the parking lot and avoid shopping alone. If no one is with you, ask for an escort by mall or store security personnel. Also take care while taking gifts from your driveway into your home. Don’t advertise: Once the gift exchange is done, never place tell-tale packaging in your trash. This practically advertises potential loot to home burglars and can put your family’s safety at risk. Destroy or take boxes, bags and other packaging to a public dumpster instead. Travel safe: If you plan to enjoy a cocktail or two during your holiday celebrations, be sure to have a non-drinking designated driver. Know that drunken driving accident rates can double during the holidays. Limit your time on the roadways and be extra wary when you are traveling. Also be aware that the number of large commercial trucks on America’s highways increases during this time, as distributors rush to get merchandise to retailers. Deck the halls wisely: Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and Dec. 23. are three of the top five days for home fires caused by candles. Skip conventional candles for battery-operated flameless candles instead. If you do use open-flame candles, place them far way from Christmas trees and decorations made of flammable fabrics including ribbons, tree skirts and stockings. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Ring in the New Year safely: Consumer-grade fireworks are popular among New Year’s Eve celebrants. Unfortunately, they’re also to blame for the vast majority of fireworks-related injuries. In fact, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,400 injuries treated in hospital emergency departments nationwide and that eight non-occupational fireworks-related deaths occurred during calendar year 2013. When using fireworks, hold them away from your body while lighting them, then immediately move back to a safe distance. Never allow minors to use fireworks without responsible adult supervision. And douse spent devices with water before disposing of them. Automobile and truck accidents, as well as product and premises liability cases often are results of holiday activities gone wrong. If you or your loved ones are injured by someone else’s negligent or deliberate act during this time, get medical treatment and contact Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111. From all of us here at Harrell and Harrell, have a safe and happy holiday season.