Heading for vacation? Don’t tell the whole world

MUSCAT, June 30 – With many citizens and residents heading for vacation this season, they have been advised to ensure the safety and security of their families as well as properties. While the Royal Oman Police (ROP) sources have advised people to clear fines and pay utility dues before their travel, the Civil Defence personnel has told them to ensure their electrical fittings and household appliances, including air-conditioners, are switched off. “Make sure you head to a country with a visa that justifies your visit. Obtain the exact visa depending upon the purpose of your visit,” said an ROP official.

“Additionally, the currency of the country you are visiting should be purchased from an authorised money exchange; transaction should be documented,” he said. Hamed al Wahaibi, a campaigner of ‘Safety First’, says those who visit local destinations should follow traffic rules. “Ensure that your vehicles are fit for travel, with tyres and batteries up to date, and radiator and water levels sufficient for a long journey. Strictly adhere to the traffic rules. Choose the right time to drive (avoid mid-day for travel),” said Hamed, Oman’s veteran rally driver. Rekha Premraj, an active social media specialist, said one should make sure all the utility dues are paid well in advance so that you will not have to see the connections severed upon your return.

Abdullah al Khadhuri, Senior Fire and Safety Instructor at the Fire and Safety Institute, Seeb, had a word of caution. “Switch off all electric devices, electronic gadgets, including refrigerator. Turn off the main electric line.” He said an Omani family found their house charred upon their arrival as one of their air-conditioners was kept on during their recent two-day trip to Dubai. Often, some passengers have found to their shock at the airport their traffic fines have run into hundreds of rials. Hence, they have been asked to check the traffic and other fines, and clear them well in advance. Mohammad Meraj Hoda, VP, Business Development at Ring International, warned against announcing the travel plans on social media. “Posting your travel plans on Faaebook or Instagram is akin to putting up a big signboard in your front yard announcing you’ll be gone.”

“Keep your property safe by telling only trusted friends about your vacation. Refrain from sharing photographs until after you have returned home. If you are posting your vacation plans on social media, do it privately, with a group of friends and family that you completely trust,” said Mohammed. “Keep the neighbours informed about your absence. If possible, leave a spare key with your neighbour so that it will come handy in case of an emergency in your absence,” he said. Abdullah al Khadhuri, a Business and Community Engagement Manager, said all these measures will ensure a safe journey and a peaceful holiday for the entire family.

KABEER YOUSUF