Black Friday- Security experts offer tips on holiday safety

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Featured

Published on November 14, 2018 with No Comments

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend more money on holiday shopping in 2018 than in 2017. Such consumer optimism may also mean that holiday shoppers are feeling the competitive spirit, battling busy stores and hunting down aggressive deals – and unintentionally putting their personal safety at risk, as a result.

“While big holiday shopping outings have become a tradition for many holiday shoppers, we encourage everyone to remain vigilantly aware of their surroundings,” said Joel Brumlik, owner of Signal 88 Security of Chicago.

Whether you’re hitting the stores before Thanksgiving, on Black Friday or anytime between now and Christmas, Signal 88 Security, a private security company with more than 100 franchises throughout the United States and Canada, offers the following holiday shopping advice to consumers.

Before the Holidays:

Practice Patience:Often, long lines can lead to short tempers. When stores’ doors open, proceed with caution, and avoid running or pushing. Same goes for standing in long checkout lines; expect to encounter potentially frustrating delays if you’re out on one of the major shopping days.

Stand Guard:Inside a store, never leave your purse, wallet or shopping cart unattended. Also, be mindful of security threats in parking lots. Always keep your vehicle locked and your purchases out of sight. You can enlist the assistance of store security if you feel uncomfortable walking to your car at night.

After the Holidays:

Keep Records:Record serial numbers for expensive items, especially electronics. If your home were to be burglarized, good records of these items could help law enforcement recover them. And, to further prevent post-holiday home invasions, don’t leave boxes for trash pick-up that showcase any new, big ticket items you received over the holidays.

Return Respectfully:What can be even more frustrating than the long lines and shopping delays before the holidays are the long lines and shopping delays after the big day. You may also be less inclined to pay attention to your surroundings, with the pressure of the holidays behind you. However, remaining aware of the people and events around you at all times is key to your personal security.

“If you see something or someone suspicious, be sure to let law enforcement or store security know,” said Brumlik. “You can do yourself and fellow shoppers a favor by looking out for one another this holiday season.”

To see additional holiday safety tips from Signal 88, visit


Thanksgiving is by far the leading day for US home cooking fires:

Cook your holiday feast with caution!


There are more than three times as many home cooking fires on Thanksgivingas a typical day of the year, making it by far the leading day for US home cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®). This sharp spike (a nearly 250 percent increase over the daily average) is a powerful reminder to use caution when cooking this year’s Thanksgiving feast.

“Thanksgiving is a festive but hectic holiday, where people are often preparing several dishes at once. They’re also entertaining friends and family with lots of other potential distractions,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “These factors all contribute to the increased likelihood of home cooking fires and underscore the importance of being extra vigilant in the kitchen.”

According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of reported home fires year-round, accounting for nearly half of all US home fires (48 percent) and reported home fire injuries (45 percent), as well as one-fifth (21 percent) of home fire deaths. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires and fire deaths; 15 percent of the fatalities are attributed to clothing ignitions.

Carli says awareness can play a critical role in keeping Thanksgiving fire-free. “Knowing where potential cooking hazards exist and taking basic precautions to prevent them can go a long way toward ensuring a fire-safe holiday.”

NFPA offers the following tips and recommendationsfor cooking safely this Thanksgiving:

  • Never leave food cooking on the stovetop unattended, especially when frying and sautéing with oil. Stay in your home while the turkey is cooking and check on it frequently.
  • Use a timer to keep track of cooking times, most notably when simmering, baking, or roasting foods that require longer cook times. Check the stove or oven frequently.
  • Consider putting timers in different rooms so you can hear them over music and party chatter.
  • Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels well away (a minimum of three feet) from the cooking area.
  • Push up shirt sleeves and avoid wearing billowy clothing that may come in contact with open flames or other heat sources.
  • Avoid cooking when drinking alcohol, using other substances, or if you’re sleepy.
  • Make sure children stay at least three feet away from all cooking areas, hot food, and liquids to avoid burns.

Also, NFPA discourages the use of turkey fryers, which can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and property damage. NFPA strongly suggests looking instead to grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants that sell deep-fried turkeys as a safe alternative.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) – Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at

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