12-19-2014 11-30-04 AMWell, it’s been 4 years now since my wife and I moved to the great state of Alabama, and we have found the people of Alabama to be warm and welcoming. We have met a lot of people that have become close, and hopefully lifelong friends. We look forward to a long and happy life here in Alabama with my adult children, and my adult and young grandchildren who reside here now too. The holiday season is a time to reflect and be thankful for the people you have in your life. Being here in Athens for the holidays makes it that much sweeter.

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Here are some suggestions to keep your family safe during this holiday season.
The winter holidays are a time for celebration, which means decorations and more cooking.
• Use caution with all holiday decorations whenever possible. Choose flame-resistant, flame-retardant, non-combustible materials.
• Inspect all previously used light strings, replace damaged items before plugging in the lights. Do not overload outlets or strips.
• Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.
• Before decorating outdoors, make sure all electrical decorations and lights are designed for outdoor use.
• Turn off all lights before bed.
• In homes with small children, be aware of the decorations that you use. Be cautious with sharp or breakable items.
• Be careful with food items on your tree. Children may not realize that they are not edible and several things could be dangerous to pets.
• Be careful with candles, and if possible, use warmers instead. Never leave anything with an open flame that can be tipped over or is too close to the tree or other flammable materials.12-19-2014 11-30-13 AM
• Poinsettias are beautiful but, they are poisonous to humans and animals. Use care when decorating with real ones.
• Cooking is one of the things that can be the most enjoyable during the holiday season. If you are cooking and entertaining with children in the house, be sure that someone can keep an eye on them at all times. Burns are especially common around the holidays.
• Be careful with spices and flavorings that you have out while cooking. Several smell really good, but taste awful and have a high alcohol content which can put children at risk of choking and poisoning.
• Use caution while shopping. Unfortunately, the holidays are prime time for people to steal.
• For men, transfer your wallet to your front pocket. It is almost impossible for a pickpocket to get at it.
• Ladies, keep your purses closed while shopping. Try to keep at least the straps wrapped around your wrist while your purse is in a buggy.
• Don’t lay your wallet out on a counter while you are checking out.
• Avoid carrying too much cash. If you are carrying a lot of cash, separate it into small bundles.
• When you get to your car, load your purchases, get in the car, lock the doors and leave the parking lot. Take care of the receipts when you get home. Sitting in a car sorting out receipts and your checkbook is a prime opportunity for a thief to strike or someone to stage a carjacking.

• If you plan to travel during the holidays, make sure you tell only the people that have to know that you’ll be away from your house.
• Have someone check on your house, put timers on your lights, have the post office hold your mail, and temporarily stop newspaper delivery.

I wish one and all a joyous Holiday Season, and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

As always be safe, and have fun!!
By: Jim Doyle, owner of Madison Security Group
203 Us Highway 31 S, Athens, AL 35611

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