With Christmas just days away, it’s always helpful to get some reminders on how to make it a safer holiday. This year’s tips are from two eastern Delaware County townships, Genoa and Berkshire.

The Genoa Township Police Department said to be on the lookout for “porch pirates,” people who steal delivery packages in front of someone’s house that may have been intended as gifts. Security cameras can sometimes prevent a crime, but some thieves may cover their faces while making off with packages.

“Some other options include utilizing Amazon lockers or porch lockboxes,” Genoa PD posted on Facebook Dec. 7. “Additional options include tracking package delivery, informed delivery through the post office or even shipping to your work address if your company allows. All of these are ways that you can try to prevent becoming a victim.”

Police Chief Stephen Gammill said in a township newsletter that everyone “should lock their vehicles and ensure that no valuables or keys are left inside. Over the past several months we have had numerous vehicles stolen in the area, all of which have had the keys left in the vehicle.”

For those individuals who didn’t replace the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms during the time change in November, now is a good time to test them.

“Most hard wire and plug-in alarms still have a battery that requires routine replacement,” the Genoa Township Fire Department posted. “While checking your alarms, take note of the manufacture date which is typically on the back of the unit. Both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced every 10 years, or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.”

Fire Chief Joseph Ponzi said if there is an emergency, such as the detectors going off due to smoke, fire or carbon monoxide, people should call 911. Some people have been calling the fire department, and if they are out on another call, there may not be a person at the station to take the call.

“The importance of 911 is that there is a three-digit number that is easy to remember, that is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by trained professionals who are ready to answer your call and deal with whatever emergency you may have in your home or your business,” Ponzi said in a township newsletter.

To be notified of public emergencies such as a winter blizzard or road blockages, individuals can sign up for Delco Alerts, a free service of Delaware County. More than 17,250 county residents have signed up to receive the alerts by email, phone call or text. For more information, visit emergencycomms.co.delaware.oh.us/delco-alerts.

Berkshire Township’s holiday newsletter also had a list of safety reminders that are appropriate anytime, but especially for the holidays:

• Keep lit candles away from items that can easily burn, and make sure they are out when leaving the house or going to bed.

• Turn Christmas tree lights off before leaving the house or going to bed.

• Keep the Christmas tree at least three feet away from a heat source.

• Keep live trees watered, but keep the water away from any pets.

• Also keep toxic plants such as amaryllis, mistletoe, and poinsettias away from children and pets.

• Don’t string too many strands of lights together, and make sure they are approved for where you are displaying them.

• Avoid chimney fires by having them inspected and cleaned annually by a professional.



The Genoa Township Fire Department is located at 7049 Big Walnut Road in Galena.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2021/12/web1_Genoa-FD-building.jpgThe Genoa Township Fire Department is located at 7049 Big Walnut Road in Galena. Gary Budzak | The Gazette

By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.