Winter Holiday Safety Tips
This holiday season, don't let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars, muggers and pickpockets a better chance to do their dirty work.
Crooks love the holidays as much as everyone else, especially because it's an opportune time for crime -- homes jam-packed with glittering gifts, stores, malls and busy streets teeming with unsuspecting shoppers, people, stressed out and careless, rushing around looking for last-minute gifts and trying to get everything done. It's enough to make a crook giddy with holiday joy. Don’t fall prey -- heed these tips for a safer holiday season.
~ The holiday season is a time of celebration, but drinking and driving is a danger to everyone on the road. Anyone driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is in violation of Illinois law and may go to jail.
~ If you choose to drink alcohol at a party, don't drive. Take a cab, use public transportation, use a rideshare service or have a designated driver.
If You Are Traveling
~ Get an automatic timer for your lights.
~ Ask a neighbor to watch your home, shovel snow, and park in the driveway from time to time.
~ Don't forget to stop mail and newspaper delivery.
If You Are Shopping
~ Stay alert to what's going on around you.
~ Park in a well-lighted space, be sure to lock the car, close the windows and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
~ Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
~ Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Don't overburden yourself with packages. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
~ Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
Protect Your Vehicle
~ Loading up on gifts is a sign of holiday shopping progress, but don’t become a target for thieves by leaving all those packages out in the open after they're in the car. Remember the old cliché "Out of sight, out of mind?"
~ Breaking into an empty car isn't worth a thief's time. However, anything left in plain view—from your holiday gifts to spare change, sunglasses, CDs, or cell phones—may tempt a thief.
~ Help prevent your vehicle from being stolen by always locking your car and using anti-theft devices. And although it's cold, never leave your vehicle running while you run inside—even if only for a minute or two.
After You've Opened the Gifts
~ Burglars know that many households have new, and oftentimes expensive items in their homes following the holidays—especially items such as computers, televisions, home speakers, smart phones and other electronic equipment. Avoid becoming an easy target for post-holiday burglars by not leaving boxes for new electronics and other items alongside or readily visible in your garbage toter. Instead, break down any packaging boxes. If you are recycling, put them underneath other recyclables; if you are throwing them out, put them in garbage bags before putting them in the trash can and do not put your garbage at the curb too far in advance. Some burglars actually look inside garbage cans for evidence of holiday gifts. You can also consider keeping the boxes for safe storage, shipping or moving in the future.
Holiday Package Theft
~ Sign up for email notifications to track package deliveries online from initial shipment to delivery at your home or the recipient’s address.
~ If a family member or neighbor will be home, ask them to pick up packages when they are delivered.
~ Check if the post office or store the product is being shipped from can hold it for your pickup.
Adapted from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department website, mpdc.dc.govprey - heed these tips for a safer holiday season.
Snow Ahead? Plows are Ready!
Freezing temperatures, snow and ice are the winter norm for this area, and Bartlett Public Works salt trucks and snowplows are ready.
Bartlett streets are plowed in the following order: main streets, secondary collector streets, cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets. Priority is given to the most heavily traveled streets.
Parking on Village streets is prohibited after 2 inches of snow has fallen to allow plows to completely clear the roadways. It’s a good idea to wait until after the final pass of the plow to shovel the end of your driveway.
DO NOT shovel snow into the street. It is a violation of Village code, can cause ice patches and can potentially result in serious accidents.
The Village clears snow from sidewalks surrounding public buildings and the commuter areas it maintains. The Village does not clear neighborhood sidewalks.
Please be a snow angel and shovel your sidewalk so school children and pedestrians can walk with greater ease and safety. Also, please clear snow from around fire hydrants and storm sewers. Call Public Works, 630-837-0811, if you have any snow removal questions.
Like domestic dogs, coyotes test their limits around humans and learn something from each exchange. Unless they associate people with negative experiences, such as loud noises, they can become comfortable walking down streets or sidewalks or near schools, basking in yards or parks, and shortening the distance between themselves and humans.
If You Encounter a Coyote
A bold coyote does not necessarily mean an aggressive coyote, but a coyote that maintains its fear of humans will be less likely to cause problems.
•If you’re on a trail that coyotes often use, carry an air horn, whistle, walking stick, cane or other deterrent.
•If you’re followed by a coyote, don’t panic. It’s likely escorting or “shadowing” you through its territory, keeping a calm eye on you to ensure you don’t bother its den.
•If a coyote approaches you, be big, loud and bold. Wave your hands above your head, or hold your jacket wide open. Shout or use a whistle or horn. Don’t turn your back or run; calmly walk away facing the coyote.
•Keep yourself between coyotes and children.
•If a coyote becomes aggressive — snaps, growls or snarls — throw sticks or clumps of dirt at the ground by its feet. Aim for its body if necessary but never its head.
How to Make Your Yard Less Attractive
Coyotes avoid people when they can, but loss of habitat makes it difficult. You can prevent problems in your yard, though, by removing two main attractants: food and shelter.
•Never feed coyotes.
•Keep pet food and water dishes inside.
•Keep grills and barbecues clean.
•If possible, keep garbage cans inside.
•Use sealed compost bins, and never add pet waste, meat, milk or eggs.
•Keep the ground below bird feeders and fruit trees clean.
•Protect vegetables with heavy-duty fences.
•Use welded wire to block access to areas under decks, sheds, patios and porches.
•Clear overgrown bushes and dense weeds.
•Use deterrents such as sirens or motion-activated lights or sprinklers.
•Install a 6-foot chain-link fence, and bury an extra 6 inches underground. Install rollers at the top so coyotes can’t pull themselves over.
•Encourage neighbors to follow these steps.
Coyotes & Pets
Survival for coyotes is difficult, and some may instinctively see domestic dogs — their close canine cousins — as competitors or threats. This can be especially true if a dog is small (smaller dogs tend to be more aggressive toward larger canines) or if a dog’s yard falls within a coyote’s territory. In some cases, a coyote may try to eliminate a perceived threat or take a smaller dog as prey.
There have been reports of coyotes chasing or attacking dogs during the day, even dogs on leashes, but these confrontations are uncommon and are often initiated by the dog and not the coyote. Still, it’s wise to take a few precautions.
•Always supervise your dog and keep it on a leash — even in a fenced backyard.
•Always keep cats indoors.
•Coyotes can be creatures of habit, so if you see one at the same time and place while walking your pet, change your route or timing.
•If you have a small dog and encounter a coyote, pick up your pet.
What You Should Never Do
•Trapping and removing an animal is not always the solution to the problem. Removing the animal is illegal without the proper permits and only creates an open space for another animal to inhabit. A trapped adult may also leave young behind to die of starvation. Focus on removing the attraction, not the animal.
•Never move young from a den.
•Never use poisons. They’re inhumane and may be illegal. They can also result in secondary poisoning of other wild animals or pets.
•It’s illegal to keep wild animals, even for a short time. They have special nutritional, housing and handling needs, and inexperienced individuals who try to raise or treat them inevitably produce unhealthy, tame animals that can’t survive in the wild.
Public Health Concerns
Coyotes are not a public health concern. "Domestic dogs bite nearly 900 people in DuPage County each year, but the county does not have one documented case of a coyote biting a human." In other parts of the country, most cases occurred after people were feeding the animals.
Coyotes may carry rabies, but there have not been any recent reports in DuPage County. Although transmissions are uncommon, they may also carry distemper, sarcoptic mange, heartworm and other canine diseases, so always keep pets’ vaccinations current.
Report aggressive behavior to IDNR, 847-608-3100. For more information visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources or call Willowbrook Wildlife Center, 630-942-6200.
Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety
A resident recently emailed and suggested that since the number of bicyclists in the Village seems to be increasing, it might be a good time for a refresher on sharing the roadways. Here are some cyclist and pedestrian safety tips for drivers from www.cyberdriveillinois.com
• Drivers must yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist just as they would to another vehicle.
• Bicyclists should travel just to the right of faster moving traffic. However, drivers need to be aware that certain hazards such as rough surfaces, debris, drainage grates or a narrow traffic lane may require bike riders to move toward the center of the lane.
• Motorists must pass a cyclist slowly and leave at least three feet of passing space.
• Crowding or threatening a bicyclist is prohibited.
• A motorist should not park or drive in marked bicycle lanes.
• When following bicyclists, give them plenty of room and be prepared to stop quickly. Use extra caution during rainy and icy weather. At night do not use high beams when you see an oncoming biker.
• After parking and before opening vehicle doors, a motorist should first check for bicyclists.
• When a motorist is turning left and there is a bicyclist entering the intersection from the opposite direction, the driver should wait for the bicyclist to pass before making the turn. Also, if a motorist is sharing the left turn lane with a bicyclist, stay behind them until they have safely completed their turn.
• If a motorist is turning right and a bicyclist is approaching on the right, let the bicyclist go through the intersection first before making a right turn. Remember to always signal when turning.
A driver must come to a complete stop (and yield):
• When a pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk.
• On school days, when children are in close proximity to a school zone crosswalk.
A driver must yield to a pedestrian
• When a pedestrian is in an unmarked crosswalk on the driver's side of the roadway and there are no traffic control signals.
• When making a turn at any intersection.
• When making a lawful turn on a red light after coming to a complete stop.
• After coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or flashing red signal at an intersection.
• When a pedestrian enters a crosswalk before the traffic light changed.
• When a pedestrian is walking with a green light, to a walking person symbol or a walk signal.
• When a pedestrian is leaving or entering a street or highway from an alley, building, private road or driveway.
• When a pedestrian is entering an intersection with a flashing yellow arrow.
Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians are all responsible for following traffic rules and for safely sharing the Village roadways.
Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare
Whether dealing with extreme weather events or other types of disaster, preparedness should be a year-round activity. Yet, in 2012, nearly 70 percent of Americans had not participated in a disaster preparedness drill or exercise at home, school, or work during the past year, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The agency’s Ready Campaign established four universal building blocks of emergency preparedness: Be informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit, and Get Involved.
One important way to prepare is to have some basic supplies on hand in order to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs.
Following is a list of items that every emergency supply kit should include:
~ Water - one gallon per person, per day for a three day supply
~ Food - non-perishable, easy to prepare items for a three day supply
~ Working flashlight and extra batteries
~ Battery powered or hand crank radio and/or a NOAA Weather Radio receiver with tone alert
~ Basic first aid kit
~ Whistle to signal for help
~ Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
~ Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
~ Multi-purpose tool, wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
~ Can opener for food
~ Local maps
Additional items to consider adding to an emergency supply kit:
~ Prescription medications and eyeglasses
~ Infant formula and diapers
~ Pet food and extra water for your pet
~ Important family documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
~ Extra cash or traveler’s checks and change
~ Emergency reference material, such as a first aid book
~ Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
~ Complete change of clothing, including a long sleeved shirt, long pants, sturdy shoes and work gloves.
~ Rain gear and towels
~ Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper. When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
~ Fire extinguisher
~ Matches in a waterproof container
~ Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
~ Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
~ Cell phone with chargers
~ Family and emergency contact information
~ Extra set of car and house keys
~ Paper and pencil
~ Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
It is important that you review this list and consider where you live and the unique requirements of your family in order to create an emergency kit that will meet your specific needs. You might also consider having at least two emergency supply kits, one full kit at home and smaller portable kits for your workplace, vehicle or other places you spend a significant amount of time.
Visit www.ready.gov/ for additional information.