With the mirth and merriment of the holiday season approaching its
zenith, public safety organizations want to remind residents that
safety should come first.
Burbank Police Lt. Dave Gabriel says residents should be
especially cautious while driving during the holiday season, and
should remember to protect themselves from the seasonal increase in
fraud and auto theft.
Among the biggest mistakes holiday shoppers make is leaving bags
and packages visible in their vehicles, Gabriel said.
“It only takes an auto burglar a couple of seconds to break into a
car,” he said. “Even if the car alarm goes off, they can still grab
the items and run.”
Residents should also be on guard against bogus charities and
business scams that take advantage of people’s goodwill during the
holidays, Gabriel said.
“When someone calls or approaches you that you don’t know, assume
that it is fraud,” he said. “Say to them that you want to give to
them, but you want to first look up their information yourself.”
As for traveling the busy roads and freeways between now and New
Year’s Eve, Gabriel said people should only drive when necessary
because a rise in drunken driving incidents is usually proportional
to the amount of seasonal festivities.
The most frequent holiday hazards Burbank firefighters experience
is when people neglect Christmas tree safety and when candles are
Fire Capt. Ron Bell recommends several safety tips, including
using mini-lights on Christmas trees because they produce less heat;
turning interior and exterior lights off before leaving the house or
going to bed; and keeping trees away from heat sources. Bell also
recommends placing your tree in water and keeping the container
filled; and cutting away sap buildup at the base of the trunk so the
tree can better absorb water.
“This is a terrible time to have a tragedy,” Bell said. “This is a
time for celebration, and everyone can enjoy the holidays by
following basic fire safety.”
The city of Burbank, meanwhile, will collect Christmas trees for
compost between Dec. 26 and Jan. 16 at Brace Canyon Park, 2850 Haven
Way, and Verdugo Park, 3201 W. Verdugo Ave. City trash collectors
will also collect trees curbside from Jan. 5 to 16. For specific times and more information, call 238-3800.