safety

What you need to know to survive the haze from B.C. wildfires

By and Aaron McArthur Global News

With wildfires raging across British Columbia, a thick blanket of smoke has covered much of the province along with neighbouring Alberta, Saskatchewan and even parts of Manitoba.

Environment Canada has issued dozens of air quality advisories for the four provinces, and in the B.C. communities of Williams Lake, Quesnel and Castlegar, the air quality health index has reached 10, or “very high risk.

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In many communities, residents have taken to wearing face masks, and the haze has been thick enough to blot the sun out hours before sunset.

In Prince George, B.C., ash has been falling like snow, while Calgary and Edmonton have been enveloped in an eerie orange haze.

“It’s been difficult, to say the least. Even sleeping at night is trouble, even with the windows closed and with the air on,” said Lorna Burns, a Kamloops delivery driver who suffers from mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“It’s tricky, but the job’s got to be done.”

Health experts are advising people to avoid strenuous exercise and stay indoors as much as possible. If you’re able to invest in a HEPA air filter to clean the air indoors, all the better.

“Take frequent breaks, try to get inside, if you’re on a break, into an area where the air isn’t quite as contaminated,” said Dr. Todd Ring with the Royal Inland Hospital.


 

For those who have no choice but to work or travel outdoors, a respirator with an N-95 rating can be effective. Homemade solutions are less reliable.

“Wearing a cloth mask or bandanna or something like that, it offers a slight bit of protection. But really, it’s not very effective,” air quality expert Michael Brauer told Global News.

Cloth surgical masks can actually make things worse, he said, because they provide the illusion of protection but actually just make it harder to breathe.

At London Drugs, pharmacies across the regional chain are reporting a sharp uptick in complaints linked to air quality and are scrambling to fill inhaler prescriptions.

Pharmacy general manager Chris Chiew said it’s important for people to know their limitations.

“Younger children, the elderly or anyone who is asthmatic definitely has to be careful to make sure they have their inhalers close by,” he said.

“Actually, stay away from anywhere where there is a high amount of smoke, so if it is outside, make sure they stay indoors as much as they can,” Chiew added.

According to Environment Canada, people with respiratory illnesses and heart disease are particularly susceptible to air pollution.

People with diabetes are also at risk, as are young children, pregnant women, seniors and anyone with a chronic illness.

The agency says that under hazardous air quality conditions, susceptible people can also reduce risk by taking the following steps:

  • Reduce or reschedule outdoor physical activities
  • Monitor possible symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, coughing or irritated eyes
  • Follow a doctor’s advice to manage existing conditions such as heart or lung disease

Is the Sask Health Authority Beefing Up Security?

There may be changes coming to security practices to the St Joseph's Hospital; in fact, they're currently looking at strategies for all facilities within the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Officials hope this process will make sure that all hospitals and facilities ensure the safety of staff, visitors and patients, according to the Executive Director of Infrastructure Management, Derek Miller.

"The intent of the review is really two-fold. One is we brought together the 12 health regions into a single health authority. We want to create a provincial program for security," explained Miller. "We want the review to basically describe to us the current state of security across our various facilities. And the second part of the report is about recommendations, about how we would structure and operate provincial security programs."

When exactly these changes or upgrades will be implemented is still up in their air as they are waiting for the report. Once they have it, they will have to go through it line by line to make any determinations.

"We are anticipating receiving the report likely in a month or so, likely in August. At that point we'll be reviewing it internally and considering the various recommendations. At that point, it'll inform us of our next steps as we develop our strategy for setting up this provincial program for security."

Here in Estevan, Greg Hoffart, Executive Director at the St. Joseph's Hospital is awaiting the results of the review. 

"We have heard no results from their security review at this time. I think that there are definitely areas of the province where security is of great concern in facilities. So we will be interested to see what their reviews and the results of such a review."

 Written by Hayley Hart/Emily Kroeker

CBC News- How to prevent vehicle break-ins

Park in well-lit areas, avoid leaving items in the car, be extra careful in hot spots like downtown Montreal.

Montreal has its hot spots for vehicle break-ins, but they can happen anywhere, and there are clear ways to curb it, according to the experts and those who've had their cars vandalized.

Montreal has its hot spots for vehicle break-ins, but they can happen anywhere, and there are clear ways to curb it, according to the experts and those who've had their cars vandalized.

Lawyer Jean-François Raymond said he returned to his car, parked at Peel and Ste-Catherine streets in downtown Montreal a few years ago, to find the rear window smashed and what he'd left in the back seat, gone.

Raymond's advice to drivers: don't leave anything in your vehicle.

George Iny from the Automobile Protection Association agrees. He said sunglasses, a purse, electronics, or anything that looks like it's holding something valuable, such as a computer, could entice a thief.

"The core area of the city has a lot of street life, and some people who are in difficulty," Iny said. "For them, this is an opportunity to make a few bucks." 

Iny recommends people never leave the keys in the car, even for just a moment, like at a gas station.

"If someone is staking the place out, the car could disappear. That's how it happens," Iny said.

That's also one of the Canadian Automobile Association's tips for preventing car theft.

The CAA recommends having parts of the car engraved and installing a tracking system or starter kill, and to park in well lit areas. 

The Guardian

Three Oaks student honoured for excellence in workplace safety

Melanie Rodger, who recently graduated from Three Oaks Senior High School student in Summerside, has been busy creating safe spaces at her school, work and volunteer settings.

Recently she was recognized for showing excellence in the demonstration and understanding of occupational health and safety (OCH) principals, by the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) with the Safety Matters Award during their annual public meeting.

“One of the ways to build safer workplaces is to focus on our future workforce,” said Stuart Affleck, chairman for the Workers Compensation Board. “The WCB places great importance on fostering safety champions in our next generation of workers and employers.”

Melanie participated in the OHS Leadership Program over the past year, where she worked with a partner to plan and host events designed to raise student awareness around safety in the workplace.

In the summer of 2017, she worked in a laboratory setting at University of Prince Edward Island, where she gained awareness and appreciation for safety training, and the need for personal protective equipment in certain workplace settings.

She participated in a training course at an aerospace company where workers were provided with an orientation to a new 3-D printer and learned more about effective communication of workplace hazards.

Rodger volunteers at the Prince County Hospital, in addition she serves as president of a volunteer youth board at the hospital. She has taken a leadership role in sharing knowledge about OHS with her co-workers and plans to study bioengineering at McGill University in Montreal this fall.

“We applaud Melanie and the many other students who take an interest in health and safety in the workplace,” said Luanne Gallant, CEO for the Workers Compensation Board. “Any effort to educate and engage others in discussions around safety will help benefit everyone.”

To learn more about educating young workers about workplace safety, visit the Workers Compensation Board website at or call the WCB office at 902‐368‐5680 or 1‐800‐237‐5049.

News11:30

Crime will be a top issue for Surrey in run-up to civic election, says longtime journalist

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SURREY (NEWS 1130) – With three high-profile murders in Surrey last month alone, a longtime journalist believes crime will be a major focus when people go to the polls to elect a new mayor in October.

Frank Bucholtz — a former columnist with the Surrey Now Leader, among other roles — tells us the issue will be perhaps the most prominent issue in October’s vote.

But he says it’s not just murders that are the focus for voters — it’s a lot of those lesser crimes that are proving to be an agitation.

“It isn’t just the murders. It’s also a lot of the other crime that goes on, that’s associated with it. I think people are just feeling that it’s not under any kind of control.”

“In many parts of Surrey, crime is a pretty common thing,” he adds. “It may not be murders or it may not be violent crime. It might be petty crime. It might be property, break-ins, theft or vandalism or things like that.”

That said, Bucholtz says it will be a major challenge for anyone to take on the reigning Surrey First party, suggesting that party will be the favourite unless a high-profile name enters the fray — like perhaps Rich Coleman, the former BC Liberal cabinet minister who was said to be considering a run for mayor.

“Surrey First definitely has an edge financially,” says Bucholtz. “They’ve undoubtedly raised hundreds of thousands of dollars before the new rules kicked in that the province brought in. Therefore, I think, any opponent is going to have one hand tied behind their back to compete financially.”

Forty-five per cent of people who responded to a recent Research Co survey say crime is the most important issue in Surrey. Bucholtz says the percentage of people who feel that way might actually be higher, in reality.

But the crime problem is not what’s scaring off potential candidates, in the view of Bucholtz. He believes people may opt out of running due to Surrey First’s dominance in recent elections.

“I think people just feel — what’s the point in putting a lot of money, energy and time and volunteer effort into mounting a campaign against a civic slate which has this kind of advantage financially — incumbency, coziness with business and developers — so I think people have looked at it and said, ‘I’ll take a pass,'” says Bucholtz.

 – With files from Monika Gul