While Christmas is a time full of festive cheer, overindulgence on the mince pie front, and perhaps one too many mulled wines all in the name of Christmas spirit, it’s also a time where you can leave yourself particularly vulnerable if you do not have your wits about you.
Christmas is a wonderful time, but as the nation celebrates more in December than any other month, it can be a time where you can leave yourself and your home vulnerable while out at a festive soirée.
Now we aren’t suggesting that you need to be curled up by a roaring fire, bed socks on, with a cup of hot cocoa by 9pm each night (although that does sound pretty good doesn’t it?!). If you do plan on celebrating this festive season, you need to ensure that you take a safety-first approach, before sipping on a Christmassy cocktail. Plus, you’ll also need to take steps to secure your accommodation if you are planning on heading back home this Christmas too.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled some tips to ensure that you stay safe this Christmas.
Secure your accommodation
It is estimated that 70% of student accommodation is left empty at Christmas, therefore making it one of the first places that burglars will strike during the festive period as there is unlikely to be anyone home to prevent or report a burglary. Safe Zone also identified the following student areas as the most vulnerable to burglary; London, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Leeds and Greater Manchester – so if you live in these areas keep this in mind.
Use the below as checkpoints to consider when securing your home – whether you are popping out or returning home for Christmas:
- Check that there are no items of high value on display that can be easily removed such as iPads and laptops
- Avoid sharing on social media that you are away or going out, or of any valuable items that are in your home – burglars will use this to see which houses are vulnerable and worth entering
- Make your house look lived in – leave lights on, ensure that the letterbox is cleared regularly (a full letterbox makes the house look unattended), leave a radio or TV on
- Lock all doors and windows – install a double door lock where possible for additional safety
At Christmas, you, of course, want to have some celebratory drinks, and with it being the festive season. One drink can quickly become two and so forth. Therefore, it’s important that you keep in mind the tips below to ensure that you don’t end up with a Christmas day destroying hangover or leave yourself at risk of other illnesses.
While you may believe that alcohol increases your confidence and gives you a buzz, it also affects your judgement, slows your reaction speed, makes you feel drowsy, reduces balance and coordination, and impairs vision and hearing – side effects which no one wants to deal with.
When out on the town, keep in mind these tips:
- Choose a long drink over shots – shots provide a more concentrated intake of alcohol
- Avoid spirits mixed with energy drinks as energy drinks contain caffeine and can minimise the impact of alcohol
- Eat a good meal before you begin drinking
- Know your limit and do not exceed this
- Sip your drink rather than gulp it down quickly – slow and steady wins the race
- Never accept a drink from a stranger
- Do not leave your drink unattended – and if you do, do not drink it after
- Drink soft drinks throughout the night – for every alcoholic drink, try to have one soft drink. – A glass of water for every alcoholic drink is known to help dodge hangovers!!
For more information on staying safe while drinking visit Drink Aware.
Keep yourself and your friends safe
Whether you are out in the name of the Christmas spirit, curled up watching a Christmas film at home or have vacated your student accommodation, you’ll want to ensure that you and your friends remain safe during the festive period.
From drinking safely to securing your home, you all want to remember Christmas 2017 for the right reasons. Therefore, you should keep in mind these rules – and remember, these are for life, not just for Christmas.
- Set a meeting point that is easy to reach if you can’t find each other
- Keep in touch at all times and let each other know that you are home safely
- Never travel alone – always in a group
- If you notice a friend has had too much to drink, take them home
- If a friend is sick, place them in the recovery position and keep an eye on them until they a back to full health
- Ensure you have enough money in case of emergencies
- Keep a personal alarm to attract attention if required
- Ensure your phone is fully charged for the evening ahead or keep a battery pack on you if you see battery declining – this guide has advice on choosing the right one
- Take out plasters with you
- Keep your keys and ID in a safe place in your bag – preferably a zip pocket
- Always let someone know where you are
- Keep important numbers to hand
Christmas is to have fun, cherish those you love and enjoy the season of goodwill, so keep in mind these safety tips to ensure you have one to remember, not one that you would like to forget.
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