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Home Safe For Christmas

21 December 2016

Phew: nearly there! Schools are out for the season, and most of us will be winding down for a well-earned break come tomorrow and through to the New Year. Office and works parties are in full swing, and the whole country is slowly going ‘de-mob’ after what has been an extraordinary and, for some, gruelling year.

Here at Eurocell, we wish you all – colleagues, clients, customers and, yes, even competitors – the very best for the festive season and hope you have the happiest of holidays. And with Christmas so very close, it’d be a shame if some mishap were to befall anyone, putting a dampener on what is supposed to be such a joyous occasion. So: in order to help you make the most of the break by staying safe and well, here a just a few tips to see you through.

While most of us will be expecting a visit from Santa, unfortunately some of us will be called on by naughty elves: the burglars. Claims from thefts from households increase by up to 10% after Christmas, with most popular items on the thieves’ wish lists being gadgets such as iPhones, laptops and tablets.

No-one wants it looking bare around the Christmas tree, yet keep high value items out of sight and packed away until it’s time to dish them out. Make sure doors and windows are properly secure, especially if you’re doing a heavy round of visiting. ‘Angling’ thefts are also increasingly common, whereby burglars let themselves in with keys retrieved from a hallway table or kitchen worktop. Keep all keys out of reach or in drawers, and this goes for car keys especially – cars have a real habit of disappearing on these occasions too.

Be mindful of what you say and do on social media. While it’s great to share those party-time selfies with mates, or photos of crisp winter landscapes on Boxing Day walks, you are – particularly if your privacy settings are poor – advertising an empty house to those less than full of Christmas cheer.

Although it might not affect you directly, be aware of courier fraud. This is where stolen card details are used to obtain expensive goods like smart phones, which are then delivered by legitimate firms to a wrong address deliberately provided. A short while after delivery, a ‘courier’ turns up at the door claiming a mistake and for the goods to be handed back. Many people do this, not realising that those smart phones have now disappeared into thin air, and leaving some poor soul with a fraudulent credit card charge to deal with. If something is delivered for a neighbour, do not hand it over to anyone other than them. And if you don’t know the addressee, be suspicious and contact the police.

We also become quite accident prone around Christmas – although we’re sure this has nothing to with over-indulging in the sherry or anything like that. Figures from RoSPA show that up to 1,000 people are admitted to Casualty after accidents with Christmas trees, and another 350 after mishaps with fairy lights!

The fire services are keen for people to be watchful around fairy lights too, and not just for the pesky trip hazard they present. Nearly all brigades recommend that they are checked for wiring integrity, dead bulbs and overall condition every year before use – and that they are always turned off when the family is in bed or out of the house.

This is all before you take to the road to – happily or not – visit the rellies. Drink driving is by no means the anti-social phenomena it once was, yet people still get caught by under-estimating the amount or strength of the alcohol they have consumed. More problematic is the morning after syndrome, where folk fall foul of the law in the cold light of day, rather than roaring home after a party.

It takes a lot longer than most people think for alcohol to pass through the body and, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers, more people fail breath tests between 6am and 11am than during the hours immediately before or after midnight.

Similarly, Christmas sees many of us motoring for much longer – time or distance – than we’re used to; and possibly while we’re fatigued after a huge feed or a series of late nights celebrating – even soberly. Research suggests that almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related, so plan your journey to include a 15-minute break every two hours.

If you start to feel sleepy, find a safe place to stop – not the hard shoulder of a motorway. Drink two cups of coffee or a high-caffeine drink and have a rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow time for the caffeine to kick in.

And there you have it. Gosh: don’t we sound like a bunch of gloomy kill-joys after that lot? Of course we’re not: we like to have as much fun as anyone, and just want everyone to have the best yuletide they possibly can this year.

So all that remains is to wish you all a happy – and safe – Christmas and a fantastic New Year. Can’t wait for 2017 – it’s been a long time coming!

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