‘Tis the season to stay on top of safety

December 6, 2018
Public service announcement

As we head into the festive season, the City’s safety agencies are offering residents 12 safety tips to help keep the holidays merry and safe for all.

“The holidays are a time for celebrations, bringing families and our community together,” says Rick Euper, Fire and Life Safety Educator/Inspector with the Kelowna Fire Department. “However it’s also a time we see an increase of Kelowna fire dispatch calls related to vehicle accidents, kitchen or electrical house fires and snow-related injuries.”

Residents can reduce the risk of injury, fire, and take an active role in crime prevention by following a few tips provided by the Kelowna Fire Department, Bylaw Services and the Kelowna RCMP and Crime Prevention teams.

12 holiday safety tips:

  1. Be merry and bright, but not on fire: keep candles out of reach of kids and pets – and off of trees
  2. Keep your eyes on the prize: supervise the turkey and never leave the kitchen unattended. Cooking is a leading cause of fires during the holidays
  3. Sparkle not spark: instead of candles, use LED candles and bulbs for décor to be FireSmart
  4. Test your smoke alarms and change the batteries in less time than it takes to wrap a gift
  5. Stay on the nice list: when parking, avoid blocking residential and commercial driveways
  6. Snow’s out, shovels out: clear snow from sidewalks, walkways and driveways on your property so passersby have a safe path
  7. Don’t let your car throw snowballs: brush snow off the roof, windows, windshield and lights
  8. Navigate the shopping hustle and bustle with a watchful eye on your payment cards, wallet and purse
  9. Holidays take flight? Keep vacation plans vague on social media so your empty home doesn’t become an easy target
  10. Gift yourself an emergency kit for your vehicle including a blanket, road flares, flashlight, small fire extinguisher, first aid kit, non-perishable food and bottled water
  11. Get home safely for the holidays, never drink and drive. Plan for a safe ride by giving your keys to your host, taking transit or calling a cab
  12. Grinch-proof your car to prevent theft and fraud: lock doors and don’t leave valuables inside. A minute is all it takes for a crime of opportunity to take place

“When gifts and valuables are left in plain view or vehicle doors unlocked, these can result in crimes of opportunity,” says Colleen Cornock, Crime Prevention Supervisor with the City of Kelowna Police Services. “By taking a few easy preventative steps, residents can help deter criminal behavior and not become an easy target.”

Throughout December, RCMP volunteers will once again be out patrolling parking lots to deter theft activity by being extra eyes and ears in high-volume shopping areas throughout Kelowna.

On the roads, the Kelowna RCMP launched their Counterattack campaign on Dec.1, which will run throughout December.

“Our officers are conducting roadside checks for drivers impaired by both alcohol and drugs,” says Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey with the Kelowna RCMP. “On our first night out, 12 drivers were taken off the road and issued various driving prohibitions for impaired driving. Everyone should plan ahead for a safe ride home, and if you witness a suspected impaired driver, pull over when safe to do so and call 9-1-1.”

Bylaw Services Manager David Gazley also reminds residents and business owners that once the first snowfall hits the ground, it is their responsibility to remove snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent to their property.

“Beyond the reason that it’s a City bylaw, it’s also great opportunity to get outside for some exercise and see the neighbours all while doing your part to keep the community safe,” said Gazley.

Speaking of exercise, instead of skating on unmonitored and possibly dangerous thin ice at the local pond, lace up the skates at the Stuart Park skating rink, open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Be sure to tune in to our Facebook Live videos for additional holiday safety tips on Wednesday Dec. 12 at 11 a.m. and also on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 11:30 a.m.

For more information about Kelowna’s safety agencies, visit kelowna.ca/safety.