6 Tips of Logic & Technology to Keep Friends & Family Safer this New Year

Whether you’re heading into town for the big fireworks show, or whether you’re one of the 24% of people bringing in the NY at home, here are some tips that you can follow to ensure that you have both a fun and a safe time.

People across the globe will soon celebrate the arrival of 2020. But as we welcome a new year, and a new decade, it’s important to avoid turning a joyful celebration into a night of regret.

Whether you’re heading into town for the big fireworks show, or whether you’re one of the 24% of people bringing in the NY at home, here are some tips that you can follow to ensure that you have both a fun and a safe time. 

Stay Connected with a Personal Safety App

Whilst using cell phones can distract you from being aware of danger, they can also act as ‘social safety’ devices by providing the perfect way to keep connected to the people who care the most about your location. Here are a couple of great examples:

  • Family-focused location apps such as Family Locator can be great additions to your phone both for NYE and beyond. Some of its features include being notified when family members reach their destinations, and seeing the location history of your network within the past 7 days. For the iPhone, you can download Life360, which also notifies you when your loved ones complete their driving routes and shares top speed information.
  • bSafe offers advanced features such as its SOS button; Activated by touch or voice, it will notify your guardians immediately of your location, and they will also gain both video and audio access to your phone (in real-time and recorded).

  • The WhatsApp messaging app allows you to share your real-time, ‘live location’ for up to 8 hours at the simple click of a button.

Be smarter than alcohol

Glasses Alcohol

It’s most likely that your New Year will be celebrated with your favorite alcoohlic drinks or champagne. So it’s important to  have a plan before you take your first sip. Designate a sober driver or make sure to use a ride service such as Uber or Lyft to ensure a safe holiday for you and everyone else on the road.

If you’ll be at a friend’s house for New Year’s Eve, ask to spend the night, or book a hotel within walking distance to avoid potential drunk drivers and the dangers of driving in winter conditions at night. 

If you are not drinking, remain vigilant about the actions of others if you go out driving. Never get in the car with a driver who has been drinking and, if you see suspicious driving activity, call law enforcement. You could be saving lives!

The standard measure of the amount of alcohol in an individual’s system is known as blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The national BAC limit for being legally intoxicated while driving a motor vehicle is .08%, which means a maximum of 1 standard alcoholic drink for most people (although every person can absorb alcohol differently). Most states have strict penalties for individuals who are driving with a high BAC level. 

And check for special promotions within your local community. For example, if you’ll be in Corpus Christi, Texas, taxicab services such as Green-N-Go Cab will provide free rides on NYE from 9 pm to 3 am And, in LA, bus and rail services will offer free rides from 9pm to 2am. Here is a great article with lists of free rides and promo codes available across the U.S.

Be careful with Fireworks

Fireworks

Setting off fireworks on NYE is a tradition that can be safe as long as a few basic rules are followed, according to the National Council on Fireworks Safety

  • Know your fireworks by always reading the warning labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors and it is important to use safety glasses.
  • Do not immediately approach fireworks that do not go off. Wait several minutes.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in your outdoor garbage. 
  • If you’re responsible for overseeing the fireworks display, remember that alcohol and fireworks do not mix, so save your booze for the after-show party.

And obey local laws: If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not ruin your night’s celebration by using them. 

Have a Safe Trip!

Grand Central Station 2

Whether you’re traveling across town or to another city, keep aware of your surroundings to ensure you arrive as safe as you left. 

First of all, don’t advertise that you’re going to be away. Even if you already have made arrangements to make it appear that someone is home, announcing to the world via social media that you will be gone is an invitation for criminals to pay a visit. Remember, crime doesn’t take vacations!

It’s also a good idea to ensure that you have good locks on your windows and doors, as well as a good residential alarm system. And if you don’t have time to arrange the perfect security system, you may wish to consider a doorbell camera that you can monitor from your cell phone and answer as if you were at home. A good example is Amazon’s Ring doorbell, which we covered in a recent article.

On your actual journey, be careful if you’re using train stations or airports: They are an ideal place for criminals due to their steady flow of distracted or jetlagged passengers arriving into new, unfamiliar places. Avoid danger by arranging transportation ahead of time so that you can proceed quickly with a trusted driver to your hotel or accommodation.

And if you are travelling further afield to a lesser-known destination, start by researching its safety and security by using the government’s publicly available Crime and Safety Reports. Check too with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to see if there are any vaccines required for your destination.

New Year Online Shopping

Online shopping

The digital era makes it easier to make fast purchases of highly discounted items. But before you start the online shopping spree, make sure that the emotion of getting the best deal doesn’t come before logic.

When shopping online, it’s best to stick to credit cards or payment services such as Paypal. Credit cards offer more protection and less liability if a card number gets stolen or a fraudulent purchase takes place. 

It’s also very important that, before entering any personal or financial information, you verify that the website you are on is legitimate and secure. How can you tell? Look for “https” at the beginning of the website’s ‘www’ address. If you don’t see the “s” at the end of “http” when moving to the payment page, then the site is not encrypted and your data will not be secure. 

Free wifi is out of the question; Public networks are not secured, so don’t log in to banking sites or payment sites such as Paypal on a public network unless very necessary.

And finally, if you’re travelling, it can often be easier to navigate shopping sites using mobile apps. But only download shopping apps from a reliable source such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Always pay attention to the permissions that the app asks for and check out the comments and reviews before downloading it, to weed out any suspicious activity.

Be prepared for Times Square

(Image source: libn.com)

There’s a small percentage chance that you may be one of the 1 million people celebrating in New York’s Times Square; it’s certainly one of the most iconic events in the world, but also one of the most complicated. 

To keep such a vast crowd safe, people will be screened by law enforcement as in previous years. Backpacks, large bags, umbrellas, and alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited, and property may not be left at checkpoints.

“The experience of ringing in the New Year in New York City is remarkable, and I commend the thousands of members of the NYPD for their own remarkable undertaking in ensuring the safety of those celebrating,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “Working closely with our law enforcement partners, the NYPD routinely does a great job planning and securing large-scale events around New York City. This collaboration is critical in carrying out our mission of delivering a safe and enjoyable event.”

Shea has urged people who see something suspicious to speak up and alert an officer on-site, or by making a phone call to 911 or the counterterrorism hotline at 1-888-NYC-SAFE (1-888-692-7233).

And don’t forget the weather: According to National Weather Service predictions, revelers who gather in Times Square on Dec. 31 will face temperatures in the low 30s, so be prepared.

At Kustom Signals, we have been working with law enforcement for decades to help keep the public safe, and so we wish your families both a happy and secure New Year. Just one final reminder: Charge your cell phone early in the day; getting stuck with a dead battery just after midnight will make it difficult to reconnect with friends or order a ride home.

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KUSTOM SIGNALS INC es parte de MPD, Inc., headquartered in Owensboro, Kentucky. MPD, Inc. consisting of six wholly-owned subsidiaries, which includes MPD Components, Inc., MPH Industries, Inc., Lion Laboratories Limited, CMI, Inc., MPD (Singapore) PTE LTD, and Kustom Signals, Inc. MPD, Inc. employs over 320 employees worldwide, all committed to producing the highest quality products for their customers. Visit: www.mpdinc.com

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