Firemen, police share safety tips

Dec. 11, 2012 @ 10:54 PM

Elderly and disabled residents at Courtyard Apartments on Cooper Drive received a Christmas party and holiday safety presentation from Henderson police and firemen Tuesday afternoon.

Ginealla Hart-Wagner, site manager at Courtyard, worked to make the first time event extra special for guests.

“I’ve been here for four months as site manager,” Hart-Wagner said. “I have grown so attached to these guests.

“A lot of them don’t have family or visitors, so you grow attached to them. They’re just so loving and appreciative of everything you do for them.”

Officer Jessica West and Lt. Irvin Robinson with the Henderson Police Department were on hand to present holiday safety tips.

“We keep talking about it and reiterating it,” West said. “A lot of time people are not hearing it.”

According to West, elderly are often the target of scams, which is especially true during the holiday season.

“The mom and pop scams is where people are calling the seniors,” West said. “They get their phone numbers out of the phone book, saying that they’re homeless or they’re trying to get home.

“Actually they’re calling from another country just trying to get their bank information.”

West also advised Christmas party attendees of panhandlers in parking lots, a typical scene around the holidays.

Robinson urged all seniors to keep their bank information to themselves.

“Another scam, they’re calling saying they represent their bank,” Robinson said. “The bank should already have your information.

“Don’t give out important information such as Social Security numbers, bank accounts, addresses. Don’t give out that information.”

As a safety precaution while holiday shopping, Robinson recommended carrying credit cards and checks rather than cash. He also advised female shoppers to keep their arms free of packages while shopping.

“If you have your arms full, you go to grab your pocketbook, you’re going to lose everything,” Robinson said. “Plus you could fall down and get hurt.”

Parking lots at night are considered a dangerous place, according to Robinson.

“If things don’t look right don’t go to your car,” Robinson said. “Go back to your store and have someone walk you out to your car.”

Jon Juntunen, fire and life safety educator with the Henderson Fire Department, was on hand to provide information on fire safety. Holiday and Christmas tree fire safety tips include:

• Making sure all exits are accessible, and not blocked by decorations or trees.

• Keep the non-artificial trees watered. Shorts in electrical lights or open flames can easily catch a dry, neglected tree on fire.

• Do not place the tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent.

• Never put branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove.

• Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up.

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.com.