Posts tagged “holiday safety

Drunk driving myths, precautions, and red flags

This post is the sixth and final one in a series about keeping your family and possessions safe this holiday season.

By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

Fatal road accidents tend to hit their annual peak between midnight and 5 a.m. on New Year’s Day. What a potentially horrific way to bring in a new year.

The most troubling thing is that we could avoid many of these accidents if motorists – and those around them – recognized the red flags and took preventive action.

Persistent Myths

Stubborn myths about alcohol and its effect on the body contribute significantly to the problem. Let’s start by dispelling three of those dangerous misconceptions:

MYTH 1: If you’ve had too much to drink, coffee will sober you up.

Fact: Only time can make you sober again. It takes your body about two hours to break down the alcohol after consuming one pint of beer. It takes about one hour to break down a small, five-ounce glass of wine.

MYTH 2: Hard liquor is more intoxicating than beer or wine.

Fact: A 12-ounce can of beer, a five-ounce glass of wine, and a 12-ounce wine cooler contain the same amount of alcohol and the same intoxication potential as 1½ ounces of hard liquor.

MYTH 3: Someone who has drunk too much looks intoxicated.

Fact: A person’s physical appearance can be misleading. A single drink can impair someone’s ability to drive. When someone drinks, the first thing affected is their judgment. Important motor skills are next.

Hosting a party?

If you plan to host a New Year’s Eve party, we recommend taking some common-sense steps to curb excessive drinking and to help your designated drivers stay sober.

Drinking isn’t mandatory for having a good time, so don’t force alcohol on your guests. Offer a variety of non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers and others who prefer not to consume alcohol. Carbonation encourages the bloodstream to absorb alcohol faster, so use non-carbonated bases such as fruit juice for alcohol-laced punches.

It’s also a good idea to avoid serving too many salty snacks, which tend to make people thirsty and want to drink more.

Before your party begins, ask your guests to appoint one or more designated drivers, who should agree to drink only non-alcoholic beverages. If certain guests are known to drink in excess, inform them that drinking and driving are unacceptable at your party.

Don’t let guests mix their drinks. Choosing a reliable bartender will help you keep track of the size and number of drinks your guests consume. Don’t allow anyone under the legal drinking age to consume or serve alcohol, either.

About 90 minutes before your party is scheduled to end, close the bar and serve dessert treats with coffee. But remember: time alone sobers up those who have been drinking.

Drunk driver warning signs

If you witness any of these driver behaviors, note the license plate number and vehicle description and report it to the proper authorities. DO NOT attempt to stop the driver on your own:

  • Wide turns.
  • Straddling lanes or driving on the centerline.
  • Drifting or moving in a straight line at a slight angle to the roadway.
  • Driving with the headlights off at night.
  • The driver shows signs of being drunk such as eye fixation or face close to the windshield.
  • You see a driver drinking.
  • Driving below the speed limit, erratic braking, or stopping without cause.
  • A slow response to traffic signals, including sudden stops or delayed starts.
  • Nearly striking objects or curbs.
  • Weaving or zigzagging across the road.
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road or completely off the roadway.
  • Rapid acceleration or deceleration.

The College Station Police Department will be actively enforcing alcohol-related offenses throughout the holiday season and especially on New Year’s Eve.

We wish you a safe and happy new year!


About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

 

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Holiday Safety:  Watch out for pets in your merry festivities

This post is the fifth in a series about keeping your family and possessions safe this holiday season.

By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

A lot of people consider their pets to be valued members of their families. It’s especially important to treat them that way during the holidays.

Many of the fun and beautiful things we enjoy about Christmas can create hazards for your pets. The College Station Police Department’s Animal Control Division offers these basic tips to keep your beloved pet safe and sound amid all the joy and fun:

Holiday hazards

Hang breakables, tinsel, and other tempting decorations well out of paw’s reach. Tinsel, ribbon, and ornaments are especially dangerous to pets if chewed or swallowed, and electrical cords are even worse. Gnawing pets often try to chew the cords, which could lead to severe injuries or even death. Make sure your light strand, loose wires, and extension cords are out of reach.

It’s also wise to place your decorative holiday plants and candles clear of your pet’s reach. Some seasonal plants – such as mistletoe, holly berries, and poinsettias – are poisonous, and pets and candles just don’t mix. You should also keep your pets away from holiday treats, especially chocolate. Theobromine and caffeine, ingredients found in chocolate, are toxins and can be fatal to some animals.

Christmas trees

A Christmas tree should stand on a flat, broad base. You may also consider anchoring the tree with fishing line tied to a ceiling or wall hook since curious cats often see trees as climbing posts. Needles from both live and artificial trees are indigestible and can cause illness. Don’t tempt your pet with edible ornaments, either.

If you have a live tree, be aware that water from the tree base can cause mouth sores, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Be sure to cover the bottom tightly with skirting to restrict access.

Provide a haven

If you plan to entertain family or friends, provide a haven where your pets can retreat when they get overly excited or could possibly escape. Encourage your guest to leave your pets alone when in their sanctuary.

When you travel

If you are going away and your pet is staying home, make arrangements for their care, check that they have proper identification, and make sure their enclosures are secure. Contact a reputable pet sitter or find a high-quality kennel that provides a safe, sanitary environment and has a qualified, caring staff.

If your pet travels with you, identify accommodations that allow pets by contacting the tourism agency at your destination. If traveling by car, provide frequent rest and water stops and bring proof of vaccinations. Always have current identification on your pet’s collar with an alternate phone number.

The College Station Police Department wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.

 


About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

 

Photo Copyright: dikushin / 123RF Stock Photo

 

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Holiday Safety: Don’t let would-be grinches spoil your travels 

This post is the fourth in a series about keeping your family and possessions safe this holiday season.

By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

When preparing for holiday travel, some folks make detailed to-do lists so they won’t leave anything important behind.

Gifts? Check.

Christmas cookies? Check.

Ugly holiday sweater? Check.

If you plan to celebrate the season away from home, you might consider adding a few other items to that checklist to keep your property safe. Don’t let the would-be grinches lurking in the shadows spoil your Christmas.

Good locks, simple precautions, neighborly alertness, and common sense can prevent most property crimes.

Is anybody there?

Make sure your home has a lived-in look since most burglars want to avoid confrontation. Put a hold on your mail and newspaper deliveries and hide your empty garbage container. An alternative is to ask a trusted neighbor to handle these items for you.

You can also provide that neighbor with a key to your home and have them park their vehicle in your driveway. You can offer to do the same the next time they leave town.

Lights and alarm systems are great investments, and you may want to add a timer to turn on the lights and a radio or TV in the evening. Some modern security systems and timers can be controlled and monitored remotely through your smartphone. Leave your shades and blinds in their normal positions.

If you’re a renter, check with your landlord or management company about their security measures and what precautions you should take in case freezing weather occurs.

Secure your home and valuables

Lock all your windows, doors and outside gates. You might even consider double-locking your windows with inexpensive key locks found at hardware stores. Don’t hide your keys in a mailbox, under a doormat or planter, or anywhere outside.

Double check your garage doors before you leave, and unplug or disarm automatic garage door openers, if possible. If you’re leaving a vehicle in the driveway, don’t leave a garage door opener inside.

Take smaller valuables such as laptop computers or expensive jewelry with you or store them in a safe deposit box. It’s also a good idea to record the serial numbers of your valuables. You may even want to engrave your driver’s license number on the back of your electronics and computers.

Be discrete

Finally, it’s never wise to advertise your travel plans to strangers, especially on Facebook or other social media.

Let’s work together to keep College Station a safe place to live, work and play by taking away opportunities for crime. The College Station Police Department wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.


About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 

 


Holiday Safety: Bad guys see vehicles as easy targets

This is the third post in a series about keeping your family and possessions safe this holiday season.

By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

As much as we all enjoy the Christmas holidays, we don’t want thieves to revel in the season at our expense. Too often, vehicles filled with shiny new gifts can be an easy mark for these sad souls.

Here are some basic precautions you can take while driving to lessen the chances a crook will spoil your holiday fun:

Be Cautious in Parking Areas.

Shop during the day whenever possible and avoid shopping alone. Park in a well-lit and well-traveled area – and remember where you parked! Lock your vehicle and put up your windows. When you return to your vehicle, have your keys in hand so you won’t be fumbling with or looking for your keys. Don’t be overburdened with packages, either — it makes you look vulnerable.

When you return to your vehicle, scan the interior to be sure no one is hiding inside. When storing items in your vehicle, place them out of sight, preferably in a locked trunk, and don’t leave your purse, wallet, or cell phone in plain view.

Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con artists may try to distract you while slyly stealing your money or belongings. Since criminals often choose victims who appear to be the easiest targets, try to display confidence and purpose. You should also trust your instincts. If you have a feeling something is wrong or suspicious, take immediate action to reduce your risk.

Make Sure You Aren’t Followed.

When you leave a parking area, check to see if anyone is following you. Pay close attention to your surroundings and lock your car doors.

A recent trend shows that some criminals monitor stores with high-value products, such as electronics stores. After you make a purchase and leave the parking lot, they follow you to your next stop. When you go inside, they try to break into your vehicle to steal your stuff.

Be Careful with Cash, Credit Cards

If you go to an automatic teller machine for cash, make sure it is well lit and in a safe location, and be aware of other people. Take only the credit cards you need and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or unnecessary items such as jewelry. Put any cash in your front pocket.

Don’t Resist or Chase a Thief

Finally, don’t resist if someone tries to take any of your belongings, and don’t attempt to chase the robber. They may have a weapon or accomplices waiting nearby. Instead, call 9-1-1 as soon as possible.

Let’s work together to keep College Station a safe place to live, work and play by taking away opportunities for crime. The College Station Police Department wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.


About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 

 


Holiday Safety: Use extreme caution when shopping with kids

This is the second post in a series about keeping your family and possessions safe this holiday season.

 By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

Stores and malls traditionally see their largest crowds during the holidays when much of the population is out searching for that perfect Christmas present.

It’s easy to lose track of essential items such as cell phones and car keys. But those things pale in comparison to what we hold dearest – our children. It’s easy for you and your kids to be distracted by all the sights, sounds, and crowds of holiday shopping, so make sure they stay with you at all times.

Nothing takes the place of your supervision when you are in a public place with your children.  If you think you might be distracted when shopping, make other arrangements for your children’s care.

If your kids do tag along, keep these practical tips in mind:

Adult Supervision

Supervise your child and always accompany young children to the restroom. Make sure your kids know to stay with you and that they check with you or the adult in charge before going anywhere. Know where your children are and who they’re with at all times.

Never use video arcades, movie theaters, or playgrounds as babysitters, and don’t expect employees in toy or specialty stores to supervise and care for your children.

Getting Separated

Practice safe shopping skills with your children. Teach them how to locate adult sources of help and checking with you before going anywhere in a store or mall.

Talk to your kids about what to do if you become separated. Designate a meeting place such as a store’s sales counter or the mall’s information booth. Teach younger children to look for uniformed security or police officers, salespeople with nametags, or people in information booths. Make sure your kids know never to leave the store or mall or go looking for you in the parking lot.

Older Kids

If you allow your older children to go to the mall or other activities without you, they should always take a friend and check in with you on a regular basis. Be sure to have a clear plan for picking them up — including place and time — and what to do if plans change.

Let’s work together to keep College Station a safe place to live, work and play by taking away opportunities for crime. The College Station Police Department wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.

 


About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 

 


Holiday Safety: Be careful when shopping — even online

This is the first post of a series about keeping your family and property safe this holiday season.

By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

When Christmas shopping, you usually find yourself among enormous crowds at retail shops, malls, and grocery stores. These sizable gatherings also provide a perfect cover for those who are a little short on Christmas spirit — thieves.

If you shop online, you are equally susceptible to being targeted.

Don’t let the bad guys spoil your holiday season. By following these 10 simple tips, you reduce your chances of becoming a victim:

  1. Keep careful track of your bags and other packages. If you leave something behind, it could be stolen or discarded.
  2. Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies when taking mass transit: report any unattended packages to security or staff.
  3. Be sure not to buy more than you can carry. If your packages are making it hard for you to walk upright or see, ask a store employee to help you take them to your car.
  4. Check receipts to see whether your full credit card number appears. If a receipt has the entire number on it, take a pen and thoroughly scratch it out.
  5. Double check that you have your credit cards and checkbook after you pay for your items.
  6. Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Your computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed. Visit bytecrime.org for free software downloads.
  7. Keep your personal information and passwords private and secure. Don’t respond to requests to verify your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses won’t contact you in this manner.
  8. Beware of bargains from unfamiliar online companies. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  9. Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the locked padlock icon or “https” in the URL address.
  10. Shop online companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.

Safe Exchange Zone

If you purchase an item through a website such as Craig’s List and need to exchange property in person with a stranger, we encourage you to use the designated exchange zone in the police department’s main parking lot at  2611 South Texas Ave. We record video of the area 24 hours a day.

Let’s work together to keep College Station a safe place to live, work and play by taking away opportunities for crime. The College Station Police Department wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.

 


About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!