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Safe holiday travel tips from first responders

In order to celebrate the normal version of Christmas we all know in love, we have to take precautions so that we can gather for Christmas next year.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — "This is a unique holiday, first of all, because it's like no other holiday we've experienced in many of our life times," said Don Webster, Community Relations, HEMSI.

When it comes to traveling during the winter months, Don Webster gives some tips on how to do so safely. 

"We always encourage people to pack a couple of light blankets, some, you know, flashlights and extra lighting type deals, if they have a [high visibility] vest, or a cap, you know, something reflective, it's good to have where they can throw in the trunk if they have a flat tire and have to pull over on the shoulder and those kind of things," said Webster.

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He also advises to make sure that you have all the medications that you are prescribed to and to bring extra just in case things get delayed, especially if you are traveling by air. 

And this year, remembering to social distance and not gather in large groups is key.

"One, you need to make sure that you don't exceed too many people, if you will, in the square footage," said Webster. 

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And as for Webster's family, this is what Christmas will look like for them this year. 

"We're just gonna keep our face shields on, or face coverings, and we're gonna have to sanitize, but we agreed we're all gonna eat in one place but it's gonna be spread out and we're just doing it for a short period of time. Our Christmas is going to last about an hour," said Webster. 

Of course, the safest way to celebrate is with people in your household. 

But if you plan on gathering with your extended family, there are a few ways to try to do so safely.

"What you need to do is maybe eat in shifts, you know, cycle people through a few at a time, where they can be in other parts of the house," said Webster. "I'd rather do it this way now, maybe next year we can go back to the way we did it and, you know, all break bread together in one big group."

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