Have Yourself a Careful Little Christmas: Holiday Safety Tips from MHA

Richard Long

The holiday season, with its festive atmosphere, gift giving, and family visits and traditions is many people’s favorite time of year. However, it also brings a few unique hazards. (What other time of year do you have to worry about a large, illuminated tree in your living room falling over on top of people?)

In today’s post, we’ll share MHA Consulting’s holiday safety tips on how you can stay safe at this special time of year, whatever holiday you might observe.

 

 

Have you gotten into the holiday spirit yet (if that’s something that you like to do)?

I have—and all it took was my traveling from Arizona, where it’s been in the 60s, to the Upper Midwest, where it was in the 20s and snowing. (Another thing that helped was my wife saying that this year, all our gift giving will be done online.)

 

PLEASANT SURPRISES ONLY, PLEASE

In recognition of the season—and its potential impacts on personal safety and business continuity—we thought we’d pass along a few seasonal tips to help organizations continue running smoothly and people to stay safe. They’re divided into workplace safety and home and family safety.

We hope these tips will make it so the only unexpected events you face are the kind that bring a smile.

 

STAYING SAFE AT WORK

Here are a few ideas to help keep everyone safe and everything running smoothly at work this holiday season:

  • Remember those facility-security policies. We discussed this one in last week’s blog. Remind your employees about your facility-security policies and make sure they continue to be followed—even when you’re having office parties and guests and delivery people are coming and going with gifts and food.
  • Be mindful of food allergies. Given the high number of treats that are served up at this time of year, it might be worthwhile to send out a quick survey or email asking everyone in your department or workplace if there is anyone who needs a special accommodation in terms of food or drink. Remind everyone to be considerate of those who have food allergies.
  • Make sure your thinned-out staff stays on top of things. The number of people at work on any given day tends to be less than usual at this time of year. This can have a negative impact on the organization’s emergency preparedness and its ability to implement business continuity plans. Make sure that those people who are at the office are aware of the BC plans and their responsibilities in carrying them out. Ensure all the necessary crisis and response teams are appropriately staffed. This might be a good time to include a short tabletop BC exercise into one of your staff meetings, to help your holiday-reduced staff stay sharp.
  • Be fire safe. ’Tis the season for plug-in holiday decorations, space heaters, and even electrical blankets in from home. These items are fun and warm but also potentially hazardous in terms of fire. Look into and remind everyone about your organization’s decoration or electrical restrictions or policies.
  • Be mindful of seasonal risks to your recovery plans. As a BC professional, you should take the time to consider any seasonal risks that could impact the organization’s response to an emergency. Are there business functions which are busier at this time of year and would need additional support in the event of a disruption? If your workplace has brought in a large number of temporary staff, due to increased workloads or vacations, how might that impact your ability to respond to an emergency? Make any adjustments needed to accommodate these seasonal changes.

 

HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS FOR HOME

And here are some suggestions for how you and your loved ones can stay safe at home and away from work:

  • Find a secure way to receive package deliveries. Stacks of boxes by the front door make tempting targets for drive-by thieves. If there is no one home at your residence during the day, and you have doubts about the safety of packages left there, consider picking them up from the seller’s nearest brick and mortar store, or using a pickup location. Such options are available for many popular online retailers.
  • Be mindful of food allergies, again. For those hosting a party, ask your invitees if they have any food allergies or restrictions. You might be surprised at what you learn. We recently found out, in making our party plans, that a friend of ours had stopped eating gluten. This was a reminder to us to prepare some tasty gluten-free treat options.
  • Make your house look occupied. Houses tend to be full of enticing new items at the holidays, and this makes them attractive targets for burglars. Make your house or apartment less tempting to thieves by making it seem occupied. When you go out, leave some lights on, and maybe even the TV, radio, or streaming service. Burglars are less likely to break in when there are signs of activity inside.
  • Be extra cautious when driving. Be more attentive when you’re behind the wheel at this time of year. Traffic patterns might be different and children are on vacation. There is also a high likelihood you will encounter otherwise normal-looking motorists driving around with small trees tied to their roofs!
  • Make sure your holiday decorations don’t pose a danger to anyone. Be aware of any decorations that may cause a hazard. Do you use the old-school, hot-burning type of holiday lights? Do you have a big, beautiful Christmas tree? Christmas lights and trees are magnets for toddlers—at least they are for my grandchildren—so make sure the setup at your house is safe for all who live there or will be coming to visit. Use cool-burning LCD holiday lights where kids can reach, and think about securing your tree to the wall so it can’t tip over.
  • Take care of yourself. This one should be filed under “last but not least.” In making sure others have a good time—and in indulging yourself in the treats that help make the holidays special—don’t forget to look after yourself. Continue your exercise program, if you have one. Consider taking time out for yourself for quiet meditation or relaxation. Yes, Virginia, it is possible to both have fun this holiday season and keep an eye on your nutrition and exercise!

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM MHA!

There are a variety of holiday traditions. When thinking about this, I realized Hanukkah started on December 2nd and concludes on the 10th; Kwanzaa starts on the 26th lasting through January 1st. There are many who have individual celebrations or maybe none at all. It truly is a month-long holiday season. There are certain things you will probably be unable to avoid this holiday season, such as hearing the song “Jingle Bell Rock” several times a day and watching your local weatherman track Santa’s progress from the North Pole. Or maybe (like I tend to be) you just want to be a Grinch. That is okay too.

However, by following the tips presented above, you should be able to reduce your chances of having your holidays upset by some of the mishaps that commonly occur this time of year at work and home.

We at MHA hope for a happy and joyous holiday season for everyone.

 

FURTHER READING

For more information on holiday safety tips and other hot topics in business continuity and IT/disaster recovery, check out these recent posts from MHA Consulting and BCMMETRICS:

facility security