Aiken Public Safety, SCE&G offer tips for a safe, energy-efficient holiday

December 23, 2018

Local law enforcement agencies have some safety tips for residents this holiday season as many will be traveling, going to Christmas parties or just enjoying some quality time with their families.

“Christmas is a busy time for many people in the area,” said Lt. Jake Mahoney, with the Aiken Department of Public Safety. “If you plan on traveling a great distance, make sure your vehicle has been serviced properly. Check your tire inflation and top off all your fluids. Also, plan your trip and make sure you check the weather prior to leaving.”

Also, officers will be out in full force checking the roads for drunken drivers, Mahoney said.

“Don’t drink and drive,” he said. “There is no problem with having a good time over the holidays – just be responsible. If you have a few drinks, find a designated driver, stay where you are or call a cab. It’s that simple. Don’t spend Christmas in jail.”

Mahoney’s tips extended beyond the road.

“Be aware that criminals are out there and will be looking for places that may have some nice, new electronics, guns or jewelry inside,” he said. “If you get a brand new, flat-screen television for Christmas, do not place the box out on the street all week for trash pick-up. All that does is show people you have a new television inside.”

Mahoney said boxes should be broken down and placed in bags or recycled.

“If you get anything for Christmas that has a serial number on it like a television or gun, write down that number,” he said. “Many people do not realize how difficult it is to find someone’s stolen item without a serial number. That is basically the only way we have to identify that an item belongs to a specific person.”

Other tips include:

• Don’t stand on chairs, desks or other furniture. Always use a proper step stool or ladder.

• Don’t place mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and other poisonous plants within reach of children.

• Don’t use a dull blade. It requires more pressure, which increases the potential for injury.

• Don’t post on social media if traveling or going to be away from home.

• Don’t let Christmas trees dry out and become a fire hazard. Pick a fresh tree, and keep it hydrated.

• Don’t burn or throw gift wrap in the fireplace. Recycle gift wrap instead.

SCE&G also has some safety tips:

• Set the thermostat at 68 degrees or lower during colder months. Each degree above that temperature can significantly increase heating costs.

• If someone has a heat pump, only move the temperature up 1 to 2 degrees at a time, until the desired temperature setting is reached. This helps avoid activating the auxiliary heat mode (heat strips) unnecessarily.

• Caulk around windows and replace old weather stripping around doors to keep the cold air out.

• Consider installing a programmable thermostat that automatically lowers the temperature even further than 68 degrees overnight or while no one is at home.

• Check air filters. Dirty air filters increase energy usage and can also damage the heating system. Be sure to use filters approved for a specific system.

• Open curtains on the south-facing windows during sunny days to allow sunlight to naturally heat the home. Close them at night to reduce any chill or drafts.

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