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’Tis the season to act with reason

POULSBO — While the holidays are the time to embrace family and fun, safety shouldn’t be thrown to the wayside.

Poulsbo Police Detective David Gesell said vehicle prowling tends to be on the rise during winter months, meaning shopping bags shouldn’t be left in parked cars during a day of gift-buying. Parking lots are also overly full of traffic — easy places for young kids and distracted pedestrians to go unnoticed by drivers. An extra heads up in maneuvering is called for, Gesell said.

And while pick-pocketing is rare in the area, it does happen, especially in crowded places.

“You just want to make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and the people around you. If someone’s getting too close, tell them,” Gesell said.

Home burglaries hit an incline as well, so making your property a hard target via motion sensor lights and trimmed foliage isn’t a bad touch to holiday decor.

“A dark quiet hiding spot that no one can see from the street, it’s great news for a burglar,” he explained.

Also a good idea: letting people know where you’re going and when you’re going to return when heading out on snowy or icy roads. Cases have occurred when a driver goes off the road and isn’t seen for days, but a preemptory heads-up can help curb that threat.

Poulsbo Fire Public Information Officer Jody Matson passed along safety tips as well. During the holidays, it’s important to remember:

• don’t overload your outlets;

• turn off Christmas lights when leaving the home or going to bed;

• never leave a candle unattended and only use candles with UL approval code;

• consider replacing candles with candle-looking lights; and

• keep trees watered or consider purchasing an imitation Christmas tree.

Safely lighting and monitoring candles is paramount; details from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System show that from 2002-2005, December was the peak time of year for home candle fires. The top five days for home candle fires were Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Halloween.

In 2005, a home candle fire was reported on average every 34 minutes.

The U.S. Fire Administration also encourages those using wood fireplaces to make sure their chimneys and furnaces are properly maintained.

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