Every holiday travel season, thousands travel across the Hoosier state to visit friends and family. Although a joyous and exciting time, the additional stress can cause individuals to become less aware of the potential risks around them. Follow these tips to become prepared and ensure safe travels.
Before leaving home:
- Check inclement weather.
- Leave early or late at night when there is less traffic.
- Do not discuss plans with strangers or on social media. This can make homes a target for thieves.
- Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on the home.
- Use light timers to turn on lights or a TV to give the appearance that someone is home.
- Use window coverings such as curtains or blinds to decrease visibility into the home.
- Label valuable items, such as stereos, computers, movie players, and televisions with an identification number unique to the owner.
- Create an up-to-date home inventory list, and store it in a secure location.
If traveling by train or plane, consider an emergency kit with the following items:
- Hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes
- Cellphone and portable charger
- Bottled water and non-perishable food (For air travel, bottled water can be purchased after the security checkpoint)
- Flashlight and extra batteries (Flashlights longer than 7 inches are not permitted in carry-on bags)
If traveling by car, consider these additional items:
- A shovel
- At least two blankets or a sleeping bag
- Jumper cables
- Emergency flares
- Extra winter clothing, including boots, hats and gloves
- Sand or non-clumping cat litter for tire traction
- Ice scraper and snow brush
Cyber risks also increase when traveling. Hoosiers are encouraged to take these simple steps to safeguard themselves:
- Update mobile software
- Disable the ability to autoconnect to Bluetooth-enabled devices.
- Back up information such as contacts, photos and videos on another device or cloud service
- Use strong passwords for mobile phones
- Be cautious of putting sensitive information on unsecured networks and publicly accessible computers
Consider downloading the following apps that are available on the IPhone and Android app stores:
- FEMA- allows users to receive National Weather Service alerts, provides information on open shelters and where to talk to a FEMA staff member
- MyTSA- provides 24/7 access to airport security information
- TravWell- the CDC’s specialized app for safe international travel
- Red Cross- offers information to common first aid emergencies
SOURCE: News release from Indiana Department of Homeland Security