Emergency Services Launches “Season’s Safety” Campaign


For Immediate Release

Talbot County, MD – December 5, 2023

Brian LeCates
Director of Emergency Services

The Talbot County Department of Emergency Services (DES) launched a new public awareness campaign coined “Season’s Safety”. The initiative aims at enhancing public awareness of winter hazards and safety measures, especially around the season of giving.

“The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with friends and family, but with colder weather and holiday specific activities, there are several hazards to be aware of that may cause injuries, and potentially lives each year,” said Brian LeCates, Director of Emergency Services. “We hope that this campaign will help keep safety on people’s minds throughout their holiday celebrations.”

From home decorating and hot cocoa by the fire, to shopping for gifts and baking cookies, Emergency Services would like to remind citizens of the following safety tips:

Decorate Safely

Decorate with safety in mind with simple tips to keep your family safe.

  • Keep potentially poisonous plants like mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis away from pets and children
  • Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small detachable parts on lower tree branches within the reach of small children
  • Use only indoor lights indoors, and outside lights outdoors – and choose the right ladder for the task of hanging lights

For a full list of holiday decoration tips, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission publication here: https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/611.pdf

Watch Out for Fire-Starters

Trees, candles, and Christmas lights can all pose a fire hazard if not handled or cared for properly.

  • Pick decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant
  • Keep lit candles away from children, pets, and other decorations
  • Replace string lights that show signs of wear or have broken cords or bulbs; never tack wiring directly
  • Place trees at least three (3) feet away from fireplaces, radiators, and other sources of heat, and water live trees regularly so they don’t dry out
  • Place a screen in front of your fireplace
  • Blow out candles and turn off electronic decorations before you go to bed

For more information on winter holiday fire tips, visit the National Protection Association at https://www.nfpa.org/Education-and-Research/Home-Fire-Safety/Winter-holidays

Shop Safely Online

With many individuals headed online for their shopping, it’s important to always be aware of potential scams and financial security concerns.

  • When shopping online, have a general idea of how much an item should cost. Sometimes prices are too good to be true!
  • Don’t access bank records or online shop when on public wifi. Instead, use a VPN or mobile hotspot.
  • Only buy items from vendors you can verify
  • Keep an eye on your bank statements – flag any suspicious activity with your financial institution

For the full shopping online toolkit, visit the National Cybersecurity Alliance tips here: https://staysafeonline.org/resources/safe-online-holiday-shopping/

Say “No” to Raw Dough

Baking is a great way to celebrate special occasions. When making cookies, brownies, cakes, or bread, you might be tempted to taste a bite before it’s fully baked. But you can get sick after eating or tasting raw (unbaked) dough or batter. 

  • Don’t taste or eat raw (unbaked) dough or batter.
  • Don’t let children handle raw dough, including play clay and dough for crafts.
  • Uncooked flour and eggs can contain germs that can make you sick if you taste the raw dough.
  • Wash your hands, bowls, utensils, and countertops after handling raw flour, eggs, or dough.

For more food safety tips, visit https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/holidays.html

The campaign also includes tips on porch pirate prevention, winter weather safety for pets, fireplace safety and more.

The “Season’s Safety” Campaign will run on Talbot County Emergency Services Facebook Page during the month of December. DES encourages individuals to share the posts with friends and family, using the hashtag #SeasonsSafety.

If you are experiencing an emergency or would like to report suspicious activity, please call 911 and you will be connected to local dispatch.