FHA tips to
safely get through summer
Released by Fraser Health Authority
man stands up in his boat, looks around to be sure that he is alone, and
urinates over the side of the boat. It's a common occurrence and hard to
believe that it's a life-threatening act.
But every year, approximately 225 Canadian men drown when they fall
This summer, don't let the great outdoors get the better of you. By planning
ahead, you can enjoy hours of fun in the sun and live to tell the tale!
Whether it's camping with family, going for a bike ride with friends or
enjoying a day out on the water, safety and security should always be a
"Summer is a great time for outdoor activities, but it's important to
remember that it's easier and faster to prevent an accident or injury than
it is to recover from one," says Dr. Gillian Arsenault, a Medical Health
Officer at Fraser Health. "By doing your homework and getting your gear and
yourself ready for outdoor challenges, you and your family can have a safe
and memorable summer."
Hiking and camping
Start low and go slow
- don't be too ambitious your first few times out. Work up to a
more strenuous outing.
When hiking and
camping, use the right protective gear, including footwear,
layered clothing, a GPS and signaling device and be prepared
with first aid and emergency survival equipment.
Keep your clothes,
sleeping bags and important gear dry at all times. Wet clothes
and sleeping bags contribute to heat loss.
Check the weather
forecast before you leave and bring appropriate equipment.
Know your route and
make sure someone else does too and when to expect you back.
Learn what to do about
bear and cougar encounters, including the use of bear spray,
whistles, and how to keep food away from bears and away from
where you are sleeping.
supplies including a first-aid kit containing band aids,
antiseptics for cuts and scrapes, pain relievers, treatments for
food and insect allergies, a map, compass, flashlight, whistle
and a knife.
Disinfect water taken
from lakes, rivers, mountain streams and ponds no matter how
clean it looks. When in doubt, boil water for five minutes.
Light campfires only
when the fire hazard is low and only small fires in designated
areas. Be fire wise - campfires and cigarettes that aren't stone
cold out can and do start huge forest fires.
Don't forget the
toilet paper and a shovel when going to areas with appropriate
Biking and boating
Make sure all your
equipment is in good working order, especially tires and brakes
on bicycles and motorcycles.
Whether you are
motorcycling, biking, skateboarding, or rollerblading, always
wear a legally approved helmet and other protective equipment,
and ensure good fit and proper use of gear.
Make sure you bring
enough water and easy-to-carry snacks that will provide plenty
of energy and rehydration.
When participating in
an outdoor activity at dusk or after dark, wear lightly coloured,
reflective clothing so you are visible to others. If cycling,
use front and rear lights on bikes.
When going on trips or
off-road, carry a GPS and signaling device as well as first aid
and emergency survival gear.
Make sure someone
knows where you're going and when you expect to be back.
When boating, always
wear a lifejacket or PFD (personal flotation device) and carry
the required safety equipment in your boat.
Get licensed - by law,
all boaters need proof of operator competency.
Get trained - training
gives you knowledge to make smart choices when on the water.
Keep an eye on the
weather - patterns can change quickly and without warning.
Avoid alcohol and
drug-related injuries. Do not drive boats or vehicles or engage
in recreational activities while under the influence of alcohol
or drugs. Plan for a safe ride home before going out.
For health related questions or concerns, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 or
visit www.healthlinkbc.ca, 24 hours
a day/seven days a week.
Fraser Health provides a wide range of integrated health services to the
largest and fastest growing population in B.C. The health authority is
committed to improving the health of the population and the quality of life
of more than 1.6 million people living in communities from Burnaby to White
Rock to Hope.
FHA tips to
safely get through summer in the pools and on the beaches
Released by Fraser Health Authority
the weather shifts to warmer temperatures and we prepare to hit the pools
and beaches, it's important that we remember to stay safe in the water.
Swimming is a lot of fun, but drowning is a real danger. Approximately 80
people die every year in British Columbia as a result of drowning. Drowning
can happen fast, sometimes in less than 2 minutes after a person's head is
under water. Many drownings and near-drownings occur accidentally and
accidents can happen anytime.
"Swimming and other water related activities are a great way to stay active
throughout the summer," said Marcus Lem, Medical Health Officer, Fraser
Health. "However, it's important to be aware of ways to prevent injury,
drowning or recreational water-borne illnesses."
Some pools, hot tubs and even lakes can contain bacteria that can make you
sick. You should avoid swallowing water or entering the water if you have an
open wound or an infection to reduce your risk.
Some beaches in the area may be affected by Swimmer's Itch, which is caused
by a waterborne parasite. It can result in a temporary skin rash. Affected
beaches will have signs posted advising of the issue and providing
information on avoiding the problem. Rest assured - swimmer's itch is
considered more of a nuisance than a health hazard.
Fraser Health's environmental health officers inspect, and approve
commercial and public pools and hot tubs regularly for public safety. They
also monitor recreational beaches during the swimming season. Information on
beach advisories and inspection reports can be found at:
Here are some tips to follow to protect yourself and your children:
Never swim alone.
Always swim with a buddy.
constant supervision around pools. A child can drown in seconds
in only a few inches of water.
Never swim farther or
in deeper water than you can handle.
Never dive into
unknown water. Underwater objects may appear deeper than they
If you own a pool,
install a fence around the pool with a gate that cannot be
opened by a child. Also child proof or lock doors that open
directly to a back yard pool area.
Learn life saving
techniques including artificial respiration at your local
community centre or pool.
Pool and Hot Tub Safety
Pool water is free of
total coliforms and "Pseudomonas" (soo-doh-MOH-nas) bacteria -
(Pseudomonas can cause an itchy rash & ear infections).
That the operator is
maintaining a record of chlorine and pH readings.
That there is a first
aid kit and a working telephone on site.
That the water is not
murky or cloudy.
That depth markings
are visibly marked on the side of the pool.
That the physical pool
structure is well maintained.
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice