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Seasonal warnings not to be ignored

Shopping stampede: as Christmas nears, we can expect a gift-hunting frenzy. The holiday can also be a profitable time for thieves ( File photograph)

Activities associated with the festive season are very much under way, with a steady increase in retailers promoting their items to boost the gift-giving spirit that sweeps across the island, as once again we celebrate Christmas.

In the weeks ahead, an upsurge in shopping will grow into a frenzy until Christmas Eve.

As usual, people seem to take on a more friendly attitude in the atmosphere that promotes goodwill, and it is not uncommon for strangers to greet each other as though they were old friends.

All that is certainly wonderful to look forward to, especially in a world where there are so many problems, which affect large and small countries, with the gap between wealth and poverty showing no signs of closing.

This time of the year, thoughts about relatives, friends and neighbours are seldom out of mind.

Despite the events to look forward to, and there are many, it is also that time of the year when the police, road safety officials and those in the medical profession issue annual warnings aimed at trying to make the holiday safe and enjoyable for all.

Past experience has shown that there are still too many people who choose to disregard the safety of others and themselves by taking to our roads while under the influence of alcohol or some other substance that diminishes mental alertness.

There will be many parties leading up to the big day, and everyone needs to be more sensitive about failing to adhere to safety warnings. This leads to emergency workers at our hospital being kept busy dealing with injuries that could have been avoided, while also responding to other medical emergencies.

Those workers deserve considerable credit, although they would probably be quick to say the reward is in helping those in need of medical assistance.

Seasonal warnings go much farther than focusing on those people who drink and drive, no matter how many appeals are made to refrain from such dangerous conduct.

We know the situation will never be perfect, but if one person decides to obey safety rules after hearing warnings, it will be a step in the right direction.

Another area of serious concern is that with gift buying and valuables being purchased at a greater rate, thieves are forever waiting for that careless person who forgets to lock the car with items visible on the back seat, or who leaves a door insecure before heading out.

The police do a great job trying to keep the island as safe as possible, but common sense tells us they cannot be everywhere all the time.

When something goes wrong because warnings were ignored, it is too late.

Apart from this column, there will a number of warnings that should never be ignored.

Most Bermudians are looking forward to this special festive season, along with children from one end of the island to the other.

It can and should be a time to celebrate with friends and relatives, and much will depend on better co-operation and responsible attitudes throughout the holiday period.