Stay safe this Christmas

Yass Valley residents are being urged to take care this holiday season, on the roads, in the home, while shopping, and when dealing with festive stress.

Home fire safety

Fire and Rescue NSW Yass Captain Allan Carey said residents should take the time to turn off all unused appliances at the power points before they go away on holiday, including the washing machine, dryer, hair dryer and television. They should also make sure to close all the internal doors.

“Because if a fire starts, it’s confined to the one room,” he told the Tribune.

“We do get fires caused by having the power connected to minor electrical equipment that’s not even being used.”

He reminded householders to clean leaves from their roof gutters and make sure to mow around their home, to make it safer should a grass fire occur.

Owners of properties in town needed to check if there was a fire hydrant outside their home and if so, make sure vegetation around it is trimmed and that the hydrant can be easily seen.

As for Christmas lights, Captain Carey said residents should make sure they did not overload their power points, to turn them off at night, and to leave them turned off if they go away on holidays.

“Fire and Rescue NSW Yass station wishes you all a merry Christmas and a safe holiday season.”

 Police blitz

In an effort to minimise dangerous driving and road trauma, NSW police officers will be out in force on the state’s roads during Operation Safe Arrival, their annual Christmas and New Year traffic enforcement campaign.

The operation launched at midnight last night and runs for 15 days, until 11.59pm January 4.

NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol assistant commissioner John Hartley said if there was one thing police officers didn’t want to do this festive season, it was to knock on the door of a home late at night to tell a family one of their loved ones was dead.

“Day in, day out, we will stop and book drivers for speeding, drink driving, using their mobile phone or not wearing a seatbelt,” he said.

“Every day, we will be forced to suspend licences, seize vehicles and hand out fines to those who seem happy to put road-users’ lives’ at risk.

“We much prefer taking these actions than knocking on the door of a family home late at night to tell a poor mother her son is dead.

“There is nothing worse than having to break heartbreaking news at this time of year. The horrible experience stays with the family, and the police officer, forever.”

Shopping safely

Consumers are being urged to keep their receipts and be wary of scams. Pay attention to the returns policy at the store, and check if the product meets Australian safety standards, particularly if purchasing online and offshore. When buying gift cards make sure to check the terms and conditions and to use them before they expire.

Before deciding to purchase an extended warranty, weigh up whether the warranty provides any additional rights over the ones already mandatory by law.

NRMA Insurance said during the Christmas shopping frenzy, car park collisions in December spiked 14 per cent above the annual average.

“Research shows that 65 per cent of NSW drivers get stressed when trying to find a car park during the Christmas rush, so we want to urge shoppers to try and stay calm while at the wheel,” spokeswoman Tracy Woodley said.

Stressed families

Kids Helpline General Manager Wendy Protheroe said the national counselling service experiences a spike in contacts from children and young people concerned about family relationships, emotional problems, suicide, homelessness and grief during the Christmas period. 

“There are enormous pressures on people at Christmas, from time management to family budgets and family relationships,” she said.

“Children of all ages pick up on tension and they worry about the impacts on themselves and their loved ones.”

But it is not just the family angst that causes kids to worry. Ms Protheroe said Christmas can be a very sad and stressful time for children and young people who have lost loved ones or who are dealing with family separation.

“Kids are more sensitive than we sometimes give them credit for and some will worry about the parent who will be alone for Christmas,” she said.


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