Be safe on braai weekend

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With summer on its way and the recent relaxation of lockdown restrictions, families will be getting out more to take advantage of the weather and the chance to do more socialising.

It is also Heritage Month and South Africans are undoubtedly already planning their much-loved public holiday, popularly dubbed national braai day, this Friday (24 September).

Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communications at Fidelity Services Group, reminded people that criminals do not play by rules. The relaxation of lockdown restrictions is merely something that provides more opportunity for them.

“Curfew has been extended to 23:00 and the number of people at indoor and outdoor gatherings has also increased, following the president’s update on 12 September,” Hattingh said. “This is welcome news and a boost for the economy, but we urge people to remain sensible and aware when attending events, visiting restaurants and pubs, travelling home late at night and entertaining at home.”

. Hattingh shared seven safety tips:

1. At restaurants, pubs and shopping centres: Keep personal belongings out of sight in handbags or other secure bags worn over your body. Never keep cellphones in a pocket or flash cash around. Beware of who is around you.

2. When exercising outdoors: Leave valuables at home and keep cellphones out of sight. Don’t wear earphones. Be alert to who is around at all times. Do not cycle or jog in remote areas alone.

3. At home: On a hot day open doors and windows, make sure security gates remain locked with the keys removed. Activate outdoor beams and your electric fence if you are inside the house. Never open the gate for strangers and inform someone if you are expecting a delivery.

4. Coming home after dark: Turn your radio down and take note of any cars or people in your street. Do not park up against your gate and then open it. Allow space to drive away if need be and once the gate is open wait in the car with the doors locked until the gate is closed again.

5. When going out: Always let someone in your family know where you are going, what time you should arrive there and when you expect to be home. It is a good idea to leave an alternative contact number too. If using e-hailing services, be 100% sure the ride is legitimate before getting in.

6. Entertaining at home: Never leave the gate standing open while waiting for guests to arrive. They should all preferably park inside the property. Alternatively, hire a security guard to watch the cars if they are parked in the street. Activate outdoor beams in areas you are not using and keep remote panic buttons close at hand.

7. When going away: If out of town for a weekend or longer, inform your neighbour, security company and neighbourhood watch. Ensure your alarm is working well before you leave on your trip so you can get any issues sorted out beforehand. Don’t post your holiday, travel plans or destination on social media.

“Finally, we urge all South Africans to continue adhering to Covid-19 protocols,” Hattingh said. “However happy we are to have more freedom in level 2, to get out of lockdown completely we must all play our part.”

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