Valentines Day Safety SHEilds Health and Safety blog

Valentine’s Day Safety

6 Tips to Ensure the Day is Safe

Cultural Celebrations are strange things; often a part of life from early childhood memory we grow up acknowledging and planning our lives around them because – quite simply – they have seemingly always been there.

With that said, dig a little deeper and really question these events and the bright simplicity of celebration breaks down into far more complex origins. Christmas traditions owe much to those of the pagan feasts on Winter Solstice, while the UK’s celebration of Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes day) celebrates a failed gunpowder plot with a hypocritically vast amount of our own gunpowder in fireworks.

Valentine’s Day is no exception to this bizarre cultural mutation, with a number of possible – occasionally questionable – inspirations cited.

One legend suggests the day takes its name from a Christian priest who helped other members of his faith escape Roman persecution in the 3rd Century. Ultimately put to death by the Roman regime, legend has it that he signed a final letter “from your Valentine” to the jailer’s daughter whom he had supposedly healed from blindness.

Another similar story describes another Valentine (again a priest) from the same era who defied an Imperial decree that marriage of young men be outlawed. Once again, the story ends with our Valentine put to death for his defiance.

Other legends also point to far broader origins. The pagan feast of Lupercalia in mid-February celebrated the agricultural deity Faunus, often accompanied by the soaking of animal hides in blood which were ‘gently’ slapped against women and crops to encourage fertility. Suffice to say these traditions did not survive, being outlawed and repurposed in the 5th Century by the then Pope Gelasius.

In the Middle Ages, these various threads homogenized towards the more recognisable form the day holds today, namely one of romance. However, it’s an amusing irony that so many of the original inspirations appear to be rooted in bloodshed, oppression and resistance; a far cry from the sanitised cartoon cupids and swelling love hearts of the modern occasion.

Exciting opportunity, weary obligation or overindulgent corporate marketing event; whatever Valentine’s Day means to you we would rather yours end up closer to the modern iteration than one of its bloody origin stories.

So, without further ado here are 6 tips to ensure the day is safe and memorable for the right reasons.

Safety Tips for Valentine’s Day

You and your significant other enjoying some quality time, sharing presents and having a nice meal. What could possibly go wrong? As an unfortunate number of statistics show each year, rather a lot.

To make sure your date doesn’t become another nasty statistic, here are some key safety tips for Valentine’s Day:

  1. Don’t combine cooking and romance – If you’re planning on cooking dinner at home this point might seem a bit contrary to the spirit of the occasion, but amorous behavior is best left till after food is on the table.
    Keep your attention on the oven, stove and chopping board; kitchen fires and severed fingers are unlikely to impress your date. Hugs, kisses or outright departures from the task at hand invite the possibility of a disaster which could easily be averted.
  1. Mind those candles – A romantic staple they may be, however when all is said and done candles are naked flames. If you’re trying to enhance the mood with them make sure they are spaced out on stable surfaces clear of curtains, beds and places they are likely to be knocked over. Never leave them unattended and ensure they are put out before you go to sleep.
  2. Drink to health, not to excess – A glass of wine will be more than likely for many of us on our dates but keep some perspective on how intoxicated you are and what the impact may be.
    A dream date could rapidly become a nightmare thanks to being over the limit, whether it be through a fall, exaggerated arguments or leaving yourself vulnerable on a journey home. It goes without saying that driving should be off the table for any amount of alcohol consumption and bear in mind that no one wants a belching, stumbling, dozy wreck as their date.

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  1. Don’t advertise absence – This might sound paranoid, but if your social media accounts can be accessed or shared publicly think twice before announcing your evening plans to the world; you never know who might be watching and rubbing their hands together in glee at the prospect of an empty burglary target. Ideally wait until AFTER a trip out before posting photos and updates online.
  2. Plan your date carefully ahead of the day – Dressed to impress and probably carrying cash; if you’re out and about for a date on an evening being mindful of personal safety is vital. Booking where you’ll be eating along with safe routes or means of transport to and from prevents unnecessary confusion and loitering which thieves may take advantage of. Be direct and be safe.
  3. Mind that ‘fantasies’ don’t become too real – This will be a controversial subject for some, but for those of you and your partners who enjoy playing certain ‘roles’ – you know who you are – make sure your activities – however outrageous – are grounded firmly in safety and consent.
    London Fire Brigade revealed in 2014-2015 they attended 472 incidents involving people who’d become ‘stuck’ in everyday objects, some of which were under ‘questionable’ circumstances*. To avoid embarrassment and injury make sure that romantic activities have sensible limitations and a clear way out.

In the end, being smart and balancing indulgence with restraint will keep you safe and result in you likely having a better evening. Take care and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

SHEilds Ltd

* https://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/whats-on/film-news/london-fire-brigade-reveals-embarrassing-8647907

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