IEMA highlights holiday safety in December

Tips offered for shopping, travel, winter heating, and more

information provided by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (December 8, 2019) – With the holiday season in full swing, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is offering tips to help people stay safe now and into the new year:

Holiday decoratingWinter heating

Chimneys, fireplaces, and wood and coal stoves should be regularly inspected and cleaned when necessary. Additionally, furnaces should be checked every year by professionals to ensure mechanical parts are functioning properly and that nothing is blocking the flue. Malfunctioning furnaces increase both the fire and carbon monoxide risks.

Under Illinois law, homes should be equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of each sleeping area. The detectors should be tested monthly to ensure they’re functioning and the batteries are still good. Never use a gas or charcoal grill inside your home or attached garage because of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Holiday shopping safety

If shopping online, connect with care. Make sure your home wireless network is password-protected, and set strong passwords that make it hard for cyber criminals to guess. Also, remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” During the holidays, scammers may send fake emails requiring you to click a link for a special offer. Do not click on links from unknown senders; shop online through trusted retailers to avoid these scams.

Holiday travel

If traveling by car, remember to pack an emergency supply kit with essentials for all your passengers. Fill out an emergency communications plan and let your “In Case of Emergency (ICE)” contact know your plan. Also, before you hit the road, check local road conditions, and avoid traveling during winter storms.

If traveling by plane for the holidays, be sure to review the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) security screening tips. When packing for your flights, consider a small emergency kit that includes a flashlight and spare USB power bank.

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