Alberta Blue Cross shares essential summer safety tips
Plan ahead to be prepared for any situation this summer.
COVID-19 has impacted summer vacation plans for many Albertans, but the pandemic has not stopped the arrival of summer. While large social gatherings and events like festivals and outdoor concerts aren’t permitted this summer, the opportunity to spend time outdoors and travel within Alberta, responsibly, are still possible.
As a partner in Alberta’s preventable injury campaign and an organization committed to health promotion, Alberta Blue Cross® encourages Albertans to have a safe and active summer.
- Practice sun safety.
Avoid sunburns by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least SPF 30. Generously apply it 20 minutes before going outside and reapply frequently. Don’t forget about your face and eyes—protect them by wearing a hat and sunglasses with an ultraviolet (UV) A/B certified seal. With kids being more sensitive to sunlight, it’s even more important they’re protected when outside for even short periods.
- Stay cool and hydrated.
Sunshine and high temperatures increase your risk of sunstroke and heat exhaustion—both can be life-threatening for infants, young children and seniors. To avoid this, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated drinks. Increase your vitamin C intake—it provides a natural defense against heat stroke, exhaustion and heat rash. Make sure to stay cool by wearing light-coloured clothing and seeking shade often. Never leave children or pets inside a parked vehicle.
- Be safe in and on the water.
No one plans to drown, but dozens of individuals die in water-related accidents each year in Alberta. According to the 2019 Alberta Drowning Report, 220 people drowned in Alberta from 2012 to 2016, with males aged 20 to 34 years as the most common victims of drowning-related deaths. Most drownings occur in lakes, ponds and rivers—even as a good swimmer, you’re at risk of drowning if you fall out of a boat or are in an accident. When visiting bodies of water, make sure you and your family are equipped with life jackets that are properly fitted to each individual and approved by Transport Canada. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water, so never leave them unsupervised in or near water.
- Avoid pesky bug bites.
While the risk of getting a serious disease from a bug bite in Alberta is low, it’s important to be aware of the risks and how you can prevent them. Cover up with light-coloured clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes and allows you to see ticks easily. Wear insect repellent but apply sunscreen first. After being outside, check yourself, your children and pets for any ticks or bug bites. If you find a bug bite, follow proper instructions on how to treat it quickly to reduce the chance of infection or disease. You can find treatment instructions on MyHealth.Alberta.ca or by calling Health Link at 811.
- Play safe.
Make sure that backyard and playground equipment is properly secured to the ground and teach children how to play safely. Be especially careful around recreational trampolines, which are an increasing cause of injuries among children—and ensure all trampolines contain a safety net enclosure and that any use is closely supervised. Always supervise children playing outdoors if they’re under the age of 12—be attentive and close enough to act if needed.
- Wear a helmet.
To protect yourself from injury, it’s important to wear a helmet when on a bicycle, skateboard, scooter, rollerblades or when operating a motorized off-road vehicle. Alberta laws require helmets be worn by anyone operating a motorcycle or an off-highway vehicle—for example, an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Albertans under the age of 18 are also required to wear a helmet when cycling. Make sure your helmet fits properly—it should be snug, level front-to-back, sit an inch above your eyebrows and allow for two fingers to fit between your chin and the strap.
- Camp safely.
Plan to be prepared for any situation when camping. Bring a map of the area and make sure someone is aware of where you’re headed—especially if there’s no cellphone service. Bring clothing for all types of weather and always pack an emergency kit with a flashlight, a radio, extra batteries and medical supplies. Avoid attracting bears to your campsite by keeping food, garbage and recyclables inside a vehicle, hard-sided trailer or bear-proof container. In the event of severe weather, seek shelter in a building or metal-roofed vehicle—never stay in your tent. Prior to your trip, be sure to check the Alberta Parks website for the most up-to-date information on camping regulations.
- Keep food fresh.
Prepare and handle foods safely to reduce the risk of food-borne illness—especially when barbequing or going outdoors. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food. Use hand sanitizer if you’re camping or on a picnic. Keep food between 4 and 6°C to prevent growth of harmful bacteria. Discard any cooked food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Protect your home.
Follow some of these simple tips to decrease the possibility of someone breaking into your home while you’re away on vacation—even short ones. If you’re going to mention your trip on social media, make sure your profile and status updates are set to private. While away, avoid geotagging pictures or adding the location to public status and story updates. Have friends or neighbours check in on your home to bring in mail and packages or identify any leaks or hazards that could become bigger problems. As a bonus, their visits will make potential criminals think your house is occupied.
- Keep an eye on the sky.
As you know, summer weather conditions in Alberta can change fast. Severe weather like heavy winds, hailstorms or tornadoes can be life-threatening. Before you head out, be sure to check the weather forecast. While outside, keep an eye on the sky, keep a radio or your mobile phone nearby to be aware of any weather advisories, and have a plan to find shelter should a storm arise.
Southern Alberta hailstorm caused almost $1.2B in damage: insurance bureau
EDMONTON — The powerful hail storm that pounded homes, vehicles and crops across parts of southern Alberta last month caused almost $1.2 billion in insured damage.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada says the hail, rain and wind that hit Calgary, Airdrie and Rocky View County on June 13 were part of the costliest hailstorm and the fourth most expensive insured natural disaster in Canadian history.
Hail as big as tennis balls shredded vinyl siding, pounded roofs, smashed windows and flattened crops.
Celyeste Power, a vice-president with the bureau, says insurers are still processing claims.
The bureau says damage caused by hail and wind is typically covered by home, commercial and comprehensive auto insurance policies.
It notes that the Alberta government is offering some support for people who experienced overland flooding in flood-prone areas.
“Albertans know too well the stress, turmoil and financial hardships that severe weather events can cause,” she said Wednesday in a release.
“Of the 10 most costly disasters in Canada, six of these have hit Alberta. Fortunately, Albertans are resilient and continue to come together in difficult times like these.”
The most expensive insured natural catastrophe on record is the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, which cost almost $4 billion.
The next highest loss was the 2013 flooding in southern Alberta at $3.5 billion.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020
The Canadian Press
Alberta RCMP Officer attacked with own baton
From Cold Lake RCMP
Cold Lake RCMP officer recovering after aggravated assault
A 44-year-old male is in custody in Cold Lake following yesterday’s violent attack on the RCMP officer trying to effect his arrest.
At 5:30 p.m., Cold Lake RCMP located a stolen vehicle in the Walmart parking lot and the responding officer made an effort to deal with the vehicle and arrest the male who was believed to be responsible. The male allegedly assaulted the RCMP member by punching the member in the head. The RCMP member’s baton was taken by the male and the member was struck in the head numerous times with the baton.
The male fled on foot with the RCMP baton. The male smashed the window of a different, occupied vehicle in an unsuccessful attempt to steal it. He then threatened another driver with a knife and the baton and fled southbound on Highway 28 in the newly stolen Trailblazer.
Cold Lake RCMP initiated a pursuit and managed to cause the stolen Trailblazer to become disabled. The male was arrested on scene without further incident. The RCMP baton was recovered in the vehicle.
The RCMP member has been treated at the hospital for non life-threatening, but serious injuries and is recovering at home.
The male remains in police custody and will be facing charges as this investigation continues. An update will be provided when available.
“I want to thank the community members who came forward to assist our RCMP member and to provide valuable witness evidence in relation to this terrible incident” says Sergeant Ryan Howrish of the Cold Lake RCMP. “An incident like this highlights the unpredictable and dangerous situations we face on a daily basis.”
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