As we enter the final bend to Christmas and New Year ’s Day celebrations, a lot is at stake including life, car, house valuables among others. End of year festive celebrations around the world come with pomp, rush, over drinking, over speeding, long travels, congestion at airports, hyper economic transactions, cross boarder movements, gifting and a lot of other un usual eventualities. All these named activities compromise safety, health and security if caution, care and diligence is not taken care of.
In Uganda, taxi and bus fares go up, shopping arcades and streets fill up, food markets and marts are jammed, traffic police double the efforts and deployment on roads, bars and supermarkets increase their sales, playgrounds host thousands of people all in celebrating or preparing for xmas related activities.
Ideally, the many the activities, the more safety, health and security is compromised.
This article therefore is act as a reminder that individually and collectively ought to ensure that safety, health and security basic principles are followed so that come 2nd January 2023, we both have a positive story to tell.
Over years, people are buried on 25th Dec, other hospitalized either for transport related injuries or injuries out of bar fights. Lets be reminded that its possible to enjoy festive season in peace as long as we stick to better safety,healthand security practices.
Home safety and security. Urban dwellers leave their town homes for village.Endavour to leave occupants in your town house. Where possible contract a private armed secuity guard for the days you will be away. This guard should share a 12 hour report until you come back. The guard should stay outside the house. Security lights must be on and working, use strong padlocks, you can even install intruder alarms if the finances allow. Security and safety is not cheap.
Travel safety and security. Service your car well on time. Check brakes, oil levels, tyres, wheel alignment, tyre balance, radiator water levels, and coolant. Listen to the un usual noise from both the engine and underneath areas. Do not rush the mechanic. Do not test drive after service, repairs and maintenance. Check car lights and wipers. Start the road journey well on time. Take breaks every after two hours to stretch and sip water. Both the driver and the passengers should wear safety belt. Avoid racing with other road users. Don’t drive over 100kms per hour at any time. 80KMphr is the safe zone. Children should seat behind with one adult.
Shopping. During this time, there is a lot of stealing, bag snatching, trading in counterfeit currency notes, sell of expired goods, adulterated, underweight products etc. Chances of being robbed of sold a wrong product is high. It is advisable that we buy from recognized shops especially supermarkets, obtain and keep a receipt. Check closely expired date of the product you buying. We all know by January that Dec 25Th is X-mas day, why wait to shop on 23rd Dec. its poor planning and with its consequences. Avoid awkward promotions of buy one get three. Cheap things are expensive.
Air travel. Those intending to travel by air, prepare and be at airport on time at least 3 hours before departure. Check in queues are long, document verification protocols requires extended time. Have your travel document kept together, ticket, yellow fever card, vaccination card, passport and any other document. Where possible, keep your variables carryon language especially cash. Check weather forecast to the place you going to carry necessary attire. On arrival at airport, use airport taxi and try to memorize the number plate. Avoid private cars or lifts.
Do not carry huge cash. Where possible completely avoid carrying cash. Use Mobile money, bank transfers of ATM facilitated transactions like POS or ATM withdraws. Criminals are 99% lucky and they normally hit it right. Do not give them a chance.
Do not broadcast your travel plans. It’s common to see WhatsApp and other social medial status with messages like, Dubai her I come, Mbarara can wait to reach, 2 hours to enter Arua city. Such messages alert the bad guys to firm up their plans on vandalizing your houses and vehicles left behind. Go to your destination in silent and return in peace.
Carry any form of identification. Carry a copy of National ID, driving permit, work ID etc with you for both identification but also emergency response and communication purposes. Most people move like cows, in fact cows have travel permits signed off by district veterinary officers. So if cows and goats have identification why not you a Ugandan human being?
Inform your immediate relatives of any travel. In case you intend to move a far distance, inform close people near you so that in case of no or delayed return, this team can know where to start the search.
Eat money sparingly. As we merry make, let us be reminded that January is there. It’s a month known to have 78 days because of ballooning all money in Dec. there is a common notion that ba-summer sell their expensive watches and phones in January to get money for return tickets.
As I pen off this article, let me remind you that safety, health and security is primarily an individual responsibility. Governments offer a supplementary role especially of enacting laws and enforcement. Let us get the basics right, avoid the obvious especially drink and driving, over speeding and domestic violence.
There is life after 31st Dec. Life has no spare and Muloga is not the best place to start your new year. My uncle Col Benjamin Mwesiga always remind me of everything is possible if we have life. Preserve life by adhering to safe, secure and health basic principles. In case it’s difficult for you, you will make the headlines as being among those that either died, killed or got injured. SCP Enanga will be happy to announce the fatal, injured figures in one pf the first press briefings early January.
Merry – and a happy new year.
Safety and Security consultant.
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