Valentine’s Day Safety Tips

LAAPOA hearts all you heroes out there.

Flowers and chocolates are synonymous with Valentine’s Day. But where public safety is concerned, life isn’t always a bed of roses at any time of year. Here are a few tips to help you, your loved ones, your pets and your community stay safe this season.

Personal safety

  • Don’t drive under the influence. This includes alcohol and marijuana use. As you’re aware, recreational marijuana use is now legal in California.
  • Alcohol and drug use increases the risk of violence. Women, in particular, are often victims of sexual violence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes.
  • Shopping for something to catch your sweetheart’s eye? Make sure it doesn’t also attract the attention of a thief. Jewelry is a popular Valentine’s Day gift, so it’s extra important to remember not to leave shopping bags, wrapped gifts and other packages in plain sight in your home or car.

Caution for children

  • Take care with single-load liquid laundry detergent packs. Especially in this season where colorful candy is everywhere, keep them away from young children, because they have been known to swallow them. And, recently, it’s become popular for teens to purposely ingest them. “We cannot stress enough how dangerous this is to the health of individuals — it can lead to seizure, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death,” the American Association of Poison Control Centers said in a statement. “If you or a loved one misuses a laundry packet or has a question about the risk of exposure to one, immediately contact the national Poison Help hotline at (800) 222-1222.”
  • Check that young children are safely buckled up when traveling in a vehicle.

Don’t let your romantic evening go up in smoke

The National Park Service recommends:

  • Never leave a candle unattended.
  • Take care where you place candles. Are they on a flat surface and 12 inches away from pets, vents or billowing curtains?
  • Blow out the candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing while cooking.
  • Have a lid handy to smother any grease fires in the kitchen while you prepare a meal for your valentine.
  • Place a metal mesh screen in front of the fireplace to keep embers from escaping.
  • Keep flammables away from the fire. This includes tissue, wrapping paper and decorations.

Show your pets some love

  • Chocolates are poisonous to dogs. You can indulge, but not your furry friends. For dogs, even a bit of chocolate can cause serious consequences, including death, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles warns.
  • Sparkling items, such as diamond jewelry, attract and intrigue pets. Be careful with such objects or they can end up in your pets’ stomachs.
  • Valentine’s Day bouquets and plants may be beautiful to behold, but some are toxic to dogs and cats. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a list (and images) of toxic and nontoxic plants.

If you have a romantic getaway planned

  • Refrain from posting your plans on social media. No need to advertise you’re going to be away.
  • Let your neighbors know you’ll be away for a few days so that they can collect your mail for you.
  • Set timers for your lights to go on and off.
  • Check your locks, doors and windows before you leave.

Take care of your heart

  • The heart is the symbol of Valentine’s Day. It’s important to treat yours with love for good health. (Did you know that February is also American Heart Month?) Thirty minutes of exercise a day, five times a week, can reduce your risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association notes. The exercise doesn’t have to happen all in one 30-minute chunk of time. Three 10-minute segments during the day will do nicely. And the exercise doesn’t even have to be physically strenuous; walking is just fine.
  • If you receive a box of decadent chocolates, resist the temptation to polish it off quickly. Instead, savor it slowly, the heart association advises. Store the chocolates in the freezer to enjoy over the next few weeks.

These are just a sampling of ways to stay safe. You can also check out LAAPOA’s travel tips.

“Peace officers dedicate our lives to protecting the public because, first and foremost, we love what we do,” says LAAPOA President Marshall McClain. “On Valentine’s Day and every day, we can demonstrate that love through actions large and small that make our communities safer. We also remind our members to extend that consideration to their own well-being and happiness, especially in these difficult times for law enforcement. Please stay safe and continue to be the heroes that you are, especially to your family.”

LAAPOA wishes you a safe and very happy Valentine’s Day!