Category Archives: Canada

Nova Scotia | Firefighters head to Alberta to lend a hand with wildfires

Nova Scotia firefighters are going to help fight wildfires in Alberta.

“The Department of Natural Resources has well-trained and skilled wildfire fighters who are ready and keen to respond to Alberta’s request for help in its time of need, just as it and other areas send help here when we need it,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Natural Resources.

“I am proud of our crew’s commitment and we all wish them well while working under very tough conditions out west.”

Provincial wildfire fighters are part of the Department of Natural Resources, the lead agency for fighting wildfires in Nova Scotia.

The crew consists of 15 wildfire fighters who will work as a team and one firefighter who will be working in a management position. As well, five firefighters from Prince Edward Island will be travelling and working with the Nova Scotia crew. They will be fighting fires for two weeks.

This is the second time this year Nova Scotia has sent a crew to help Alberta. The province has also sent ten fire pumps and fire hose to Saskatchewan to help fight wildfires in that province.

Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources will ensure the province maintains proper resources to continue to monitor and respond to any wildfire risks within this province.

British Columbia | Brush fires set by arsonist in North Vancouver

Ten small brush fires, in North Vancouver, were intentionally set ablaze by an arsonist.

At approximately 6:30 am, on Wednesday July 8, 2015, police and fire fighters were dispatched to the Hastings Creek, Lynn Valley area of North Vancouver. Emergency crews extinguished the ten small fires along a trail way that appear to have been intentionally started.

Fortunately, over fifteen firefighters were able to contain and extinguish the various sized fires. Many of the fires were directly behind local homes that back onto the tinder dry forest. If the fires had not been reported as quickly as they were, they potentially would have grown in size very quickly.

“Arson is a criminal offence, and the North Vancouver RCMP is taking this investigation very seriously,” said Operations Officer, Insp. Jennifer Hyland. “With the extremely hot dry conditions we are experiencing right now, public safety is paramount for everyone!”

The North Vancouver RCMP is working closely with the District Fire Department to find the cause and the perpetrator of this criminal act. The public is encouraged to report any suspicious person or occurrence to the police, by calling the complaint line at 604-985-1311.

If you see a wildfire, immediately report it at 1-800-663-5555 or call *5555 on your cell phone. Alternately, you can report a wildfire to 9-1-1.

British Columbia | Wildfire update – Friday, July 10 2015

With a significant number of wildfires burning throughout B.C., the Province continues to caution all British Columbians to be diligent with fire safety and to report all wildfires to authorities.

New today:

  • Crews and heavy equipment worked overnight on the Puntzi Lake wildfire and successfully established a control line.
  • The wildfire Smoke Advisory for the East Coast of Vancouver Island, the Southern Gulf Island and Port Alberni, has been lifted due to improved air quality conditions.
  • Air Quality Advisories for Metro Vancouver, Sea-to-Sky Corridor, Sunshine Coast, Comox Valley and the Fraser Valley have been continued because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter, due to smoke from wildfires outside the region.
  • The State Of Local Emergency for the Northern Rockies Regional District has terminated.

Update on fire activity and impacts:

There were 15 new fires in B.C. yesterday. As of noon today, there were 197 active fires throughout the province (of these, 19 are active fires of note), with eight states of local emergency due to wildfire, and 10 Evacuation Alerts and Orders currently in effect.

As of July 10, 2015, over 75 properties in the province were on Evacuation Order with approximately 500 homes on Evacuation Alert. These numbers will fluctuate as orders and alerts are put into place or rescinded.

Evacuation Orders currently exist in these areas:

  • Boulder Creek wildfire, northwest of Pemberton Meadows, affecting three commercial properties and two recreational cabins.
  • Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, affecting 21 seasonal homes due to Dog Mountain wildfire.
  • Puntzi Lake wildfire, northwest of Williams Lake, affecting approximately 35 residences.
  • Sechelt Mine wildfire, issued for Carlson Point, affecting 18 properties.

Evacuation Alerts exist in these areas:

  • Puntzi Lake wildfire, northwest of Williams Lake, affecting 20 homes.
  • Tsulquate Creek wildfire, northwest of Port Hardy, affecting 100 homes.
  • Sitkum Creek wildfire, north of Kootenay Lake, affecting 350 homes.
  • Two Alerts for the wildfire in the Harrogate area, north of Highway 95, between Harrogate and Brisco, affecting 50 homes.
  • Petitot River wildfire, northeast of Fort Nelson, affecting an oil and gas camp.

States of local emergency for wildfires exist in the following areas:

  • Regional District of East Kootenay (2).
  • Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.
  • Sunshine Coast Regional District.
  • Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.
  • Cariboo Regional District.
  • Central Okanagan Regional District (2).

For all current Evacuation Alerts and Orders in B.C., see:

BC Wildfire Service resources deployed:

The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) has responded to 956 wildfires so far this season. Over 1,000 of B.C.’s firefighters are fully deployed throughout the province, and over 700 contract firefighters are helping to fight fires. And 63 sustained action firefighters and seven other personnel from Ontario remain in the province to provide support.

Penalties for open burning:

Failure to abide by the Wildfire Act, including open burning restrictions, can result in a $345 fine, an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, a fine of up to $100,000 and/or one year in jail.

Wildfire smoke advisories and air quality status:

The Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with regional health authorities, has issued Air Quality Advisories in several areas of the province – including the Sea-to-Sky Corridor, Sunshine Coast, Fort St. John, Southern Interior, Metro Vancouver, Comox Valley and the Fraser Valley. The air quality has improved in most parts of the province, though fine particulate matter concentrations continue to be variable. The advisories are expected to remain in place until weather conditions change.

Wildfire Smoke Advisories have been issued for these areas:

  • Sea-to-Sky Corridor and surrounding areas, from Howe Sound through Squamish and Whistler to Pemberton and surrounding areas.
  • Sunshine Coast and surrounding areas affecting Powell River to Gibsons/Langdale
  • Fort St. John and surrounding areas.
  • Metro Vancouver.
  • Fraser Valley due to Cougar Mountain fire.
  • Port Hardy due to Tsulquate Rover.

Smoky Skies Advisories have also been issued for most of the Southern Interior.

For information on current air quality readings in B.C. please visit:

Martin Mars water bomber

Government has signed a one-month contract with the Coulson Group for the use of the Martin Mars airtanker which is effective Saturday, July 11. The contract includes a provision for a one-month extension. The airtanker will be stationed at Sproat Lake – due to its size the Martin Mars can only land on and scoop up water from about 113 water bodies in B.C. as opposed to the 1,700 water bodies that our amphibious scoopers can access. The Martin Mars is not suitable for steep terrain. We will only use it in situations where it is safe to do so.

For more information on the Martin Mars and B.C.’s air tanker fleet, see:

Provincial Parks affected by campfire bans and area restrictions and Provincial Parks or Park Areas closed due to wildfire:

BC Parks is now providing detailed updates on important park closures and campfire bans as well as general information about current Provincial Park conditions. Updated information can be found by visiting the BC Parks website at:

Restrictions, evacuations and closures of provincial parks in B.C. may occur at any time due to rapid changes in conditions and circumstances. Before you leave, consult the BC Wildfire website or contact the Wildfire Management Branch Wildfire hotline for updates on wildfires.

Support for B.C.’s firefighters:

People can now show their support and appreciation for the efforts of the firefighters and emergency personnel currently braving B.C.’s wildfires. The site provides a forum for B.C. citizens to leave messages of support and also allows for firefighters to respond to messages.

To leave a message of thanks or support for the men and women currently battling the wildfires throughout the province please visit:

Report all wildfires:

Human-caused wildfires are preventable and the public is B.C.’s first line of defence against wildfires. Please be diligent when in the backcountry, and report all wildfires to 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 on your mobile phone.

Quick Facts:

  • Since April 1, 2015, B.C. has reported 956 fires, more than double the 448 wildfires reported in the same time period in 2014.
  • Failure to report a fire can result in a fine of up to $173.
  • Anyone who causes damage to Crown forest or grass land through arson or recklessness can be fined up to $1 million or spend up to three years in prison.
  • If a contravention of the Wildfire Act causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

Learn More:

Info on current wildfires and burning bans, as well as fire safety tips: and

Help prevent wildfires and learn what to do to plan and respond to an Evacuation Alert or Order, visit:

The Homeowner’s FireSmart Manual helps inform people on how to reduce the risk of personal property damage due to wildfires:

To keep up-to-date on Emergency Alerts & notices, follow @EmergencyInfoBC on Twitter.

Saskatchewan | Wildfire update – July 2 2015 at 11:30 am

Travel not recommended in many northern areas; fire ban in place for all of northern Saskatchewan; fireworks prohibited.

Due to extreme wildfire hazards in northern Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Environment continues to recommend no non-essential travel to areas affected by wildfires, in particular the La Ronge, La Loche and Pinehouse areas.

Communities Affected by Wildfires

  • There is no immediate threat to the Town of La Ronge.
  • Montreal Lake, Timber Bay, Weyakwin/Ramsey Bay, East Trout Lake, Lamp Lake, Wadin Bay, Sucker River, English Bay, Nemeiben sub-division, Grandmother’s Bay, Lac La Ronge Provincial Park, Missinipe, La Loche and Clearwater River Dene Nation are under evacuation, with other communities evacuating individuals with health issues related to smoke.
  • All wildfires in the full response community zone (within 20 km of a community) are being actioned with all available resources.
  • In the La Loche area, three wildfires are in the full response area and have been actioned since they were reported; the Clay and Mack fires were reported on June 26 and the David Fire was reported on May 19.
  • Smoky conditions continue to make fire suppression efforts difficult, particularly for aircraft, but smoke is moderating in some areas.
  • Highway access in wildfire areas may change rapidly. For information about highway and road closures, please visit the Highway Hotline at

Daily Wildfire Report

Fire Ban in Provincial Forests and Parks

Smoke, Air Quality and Health

  • Smoke continues to be an issue for many communities in the north. Communities such as Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina and Swift Current are continuing to show improvement as smoke dissipates.
  • Based on current forecasts, the smoke should move into Manitoba over the next several days.
  • provides current information on wildfire smoke.
  • For information on air quality and related health matters, please see the provincial air quality index or visit Environment Canada’s alerts, and visit the Lung Association for information on forest fires and lung health.

If you have additional questions that are not answered here, please contact the ministry’s Client Service Office at 1-800-567-4224.

Saskatchewan | City of Regina accommodating evacuees displaced by northern wildfires

The Henk Ruys Soccer Centre and SaskTel Sports Centre have been designated as an Emergency Evacuation sites to shelter evacuees from northern Saskatchewan who have been displaced by the wildfires.

The City of Saskatoon is trying to make evacuees as comfortable as possible. We anticipate events such as this during forest fire season and for many years we have kept evacuations at the forefront of our emergency planning. Volunteers are coordinated through the Canadian Red Cross and are not currently required at the emergency evacuation sites.

However, those interested in learning more about volunteering with the Red Cross may contact the local office at 306-668-0720 or visit

Although appreciated, we are unable to accept donations at Henk Ruys Soccer Centre or the Sasktel Sports Centre.

Canada | Outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador with cases of human illness linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products.

Salmonella is commonly found in raw chicken and frozen raw breaded chicken products. The risk to Canadians is low, and illnesses can be avoided if safe food handling, preparation and cooking practices are followed when preparing these types of food products.

Currently there are 44 cases of Salmonella illness in four provinces: Ontario (28), Quebec (12), Nova Scotia (2), and Newfoundland and Labrador (2). Twelve people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals became sick between February 7 and May 23, 2015. Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to frozen raw breaded chicken products has emerged as a source of illness.

Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are more fragile than healthy individuals.

Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show any symptoms, but still be able to spread the infection to others.

If you are preparing frozen raw breaded chicken products there are precautions you should take to protect your health.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling raw poultry products.
  • Use a separate plate, cutting board, and utensils when handling raw poultry products to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
  • Frozen raw breaded chicken products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned, but some contain raw chicken and should be handled and prepared no differently than raw poultry products.
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked poultry products. Cook all frozen, stuffed, breaded or raw poultry products to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure they are safe to eat. Whole poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 82°C (180°F).
  • Due to uneven heating, microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded poultry products including chicken nuggets, strips or burgers is not recommended. Always follow package cooking instructions, including products labelled Uncooked, Cook and Serve, Ready to Cook, and Oven Ready.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal or contaminated product.

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting

These symptoms usually last four to seven days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment. In some cases severe illness and hospitalization may occur. People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks. People who experience symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care providers if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.

Yukon | Health effects from forest fire smoke

As smoke from several wildfires in Yukon has penetrated most Yukon communities, Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, would like to remind Yukoners with asthma or lung or heart conditions to take special care to protect themselves from the hazards of smoke exposure.

Smoke from forest fires can provoke minor symptoms such as a runny nose and itchy eyes, irritated throat and sinuses, headaches or coughing. Individuals with asthma or chronic conditions can have more serious reactions. Infants and the elderly are also more sensitive to the effects of smoke.

“Smoke can worsen a breathing condition,” Hanley says. “Stay inside with the windows closed when heavy smoke is present. Try to limit your physical activities and make sure you have your medications on hand. This is also a really good time to make an action plan with your family physician or community nurse, which would include when to increase or add to medications, and when to seek medical care.

People with allergies or sensitivity to smoke should also stay indoors and limit exertion.

Most Yukoners will experience minimal effects from breathing in the smoke. Anyone with concerns can call the Yukon Health Line at 811, or contact their health care provider or community health centre.

Manitoba #MB | Province introduces groundbreaking presumptive #PTSD legislation

The Manitoba government is introducing amendments to the Workers Compensation Act that would recognize post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a work-related occupational disease, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.

“This legislation would be unique in Canada and would truly support workers who experience a traumatic event or events in the workplace that lead to PTSD,” said Premier Selinger.  “Under this new law, the Workers Compensation Board would presume their condition was caused by the job, making it much easier to access supports, treatment and compensation.”

The premier noted this proposed change was inspired by the work of Manitoba nurses, firefighters, first responders and the Manitoba Government Employees Union who led the charge with public campaigns, recognizing the affects workplace trauma can have on their members.

“We represent a broad cross section of workers in different occupations and as such we have learned that psychological injuries can happen to absolutely anyone regardless of what they do for a living,” said Michelle Gawronsky, president, Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union.  “This legislation would make it easier for workers to get the treatment they need more quickly.”

This new bill would extend coverage and benefits to all workers eligible under WCB who are diagnosed with PTSD by a medical professional.  This would ensure timely access to compensation and support services, with the long-term goal of reducing the stigma attached to mental illness, the premier said.

“Firefighters and first responders face challenges every time they answer a call,” said Alex Forrest, president, United Firefighters of Winnipeg.  “Presumptive legislation of this kind protects front-line workers like us and it’s been a pleasure working with the Manitoba government to make this happen.”

“Being on the front line when tragedies happen can leave you with experiences you’ll never forget,” said Sandi Mowat, president, Manitoba Nurses Union.  “PTSD is a condition many of our members experience, due to the fact that nurses face cumulative exposure to primary, secondary and vicarious trauma over prolonged periods of time and this legislation would help those having to manage with this diagnoses.”

“PTSD is a real threat to working people.  Any improvements in their access to support is welcome news,” said Kevin Rebeck, president, Manitoba Federation of Labour.  “It comes as no surprise to me that Manitoba is the first jurisdiction to put this level of protection into legislation.”

Manitoba’s Five-Year Plan for Workplace Injury and Illness Preventionlaunched in 2013 includes mental health as one of its 10 action areas.  The plan commits Manitoba to improving supports, resources and coverage for workers who routinely face traumatic events as part of their work in an effort to reduce work-related PTSD.

Saskatchewan #SK | #Paramedics answering the call for care not new in some smaller communities – #CommunityParamedicine

You need help, so you call for an ambulance – not to get you to the hospital, but so the paramedics can deliver the care you need.

This innovative concept is called Community Paramedicine and has recently been introduced to Saskatoon. But it’s not a new concept for some of Saskatoon Health Region’s rural communities, who have been  partnering with local emergency services to support communities in health promotion and treatment for a few years now.

Community Paramedicine enables EMS professionals to use their full scope of practice, focus on community prevention and wellness, and work collaboratively with healthcare professionals and community leaders to assist in the delivery of care in a variety of areas,” explains Sherri Solar, Manager for Pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services for Saskatoon Health Region. “It’s a concept that our smaller communities in the Region have utilized and valued.”

Specifically, five communities have partnered with local EMS personnel: Watrous and District Ambulance Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Watrous; Shamrock Ambulance Care in Wadena; Rosthern and District Ambulance EMS in Rosthern; in Wynyard, Midway Ambulance Care; and in Wakaw, Wakaw and District EMS Ltd.

“Instead of waiting for the emergency to happen, we should be preventing it, which could ultimately save a life.  Home visits, Wellness Clinics, and educating the public are going to do just that for our community,” says Richelle Suter, a paramedic with Wakaw and District EMS Ltd.

Wonder what community paramedicine looks like? Here is a quick video showing it in action in Wakaw.

The scope of service provided by paramedics varies slightly, depending on the communities’ needs.

But in many instances, paramedics are working with home care in the areas of fall prevention programming, assessments, palliative care support, lift and transfer assistance, medication assistance, home safety checks, and Wellness Clinic support by taking a client’s blood pressure, blood glucose, pulse, compression stocking removal, oxygen levels and temperature checks, as needed.

For many of the paramedics involved in this work, the service allows them to provide care for those in need beyond emergency situations.

“I enjoy doing lift assists because it gives me an opportunity to do what I got into this business to do – help people,” says Stephan Koroluk, a primary care paramedic with Midway Ambulance Care in Wynyard.  “But it’s more than just helping. It’s about spending time and getting to know our clients. Being able to stay and chat with the family afterwards is great and our EMS team is treated just like family whenever we’re there making it always an enjoyable experience.”

Koroluk adds paramedics also get to learn and better understand other aspects of health care and what other care providers do day to day, including home care worker, and advance their own skills.

“Doing lifts also helps me keep up with lifting techniques,” he says. “This work allows me to go out and help people in their day-to-day lives in a way that is different from the emergency aspect of the job and helps me feel like an important part of the community.”

That feeling of community also helps better assist emergency teams in times of crisis.

“By getting more involved with the community, the people we serve get to know us and trust us better and are able to communicate with us more freely when they are in a time of need,” says Doug Penner, a paramedic with Wakaw and District EMS Ltd. “Paramedics have always tried to do projects in the community to make ourselves seen and known by the people we serve.”

These are sentiments echoed by paramedics in other communities, including Gabrielle Sackville who works with the Karakochuck family in Wynyard. Over the past year, Adolph Karakochuk has been losing his independent mobility, and was becoming too heavy for his family alone to care for. After two falls, the family decided they needed to bring in home care to help with his personal care. In December, home care decided that two people were needed to lift him, and community paramedics were called on to help with lifts and transfers in his home.

The Karakochuk family is happy with the partnership between Home Care and Midway Ambulance that allows for their loved one to remain at home. Back, from left: Paramedic Stephen Koroluk, Continuing Care assistant Melody Stefanson, Judy Karakochuk. Front: Adolph and Margret Karakochuk.
The Karakochuk family is happy with the partnership between Home Care and Midway Ambulance that allows for their loved one to remain at home. Back, from left: Paramedic Stephen Koroluk, Continuing Care assistant Melody Stefanson, Judy Karakochuk. Front: Adolph and Margret Karakochuk.

Keeping Adolph at home with his family would not have been possible without the help of the paramedics, the family has stated.

“We could not do this on our own and he does not want to be in long-term care,” said the family.

“It has made a huge difference” says daughter Judy. “It has made the family life easier, as they know that there are trained capable people there to provide the service for our dad. We would recommend and suggest this partnership with home care and the paramedics to anyone.”

This service, they added, shows the community a different side to the paramedics.

“There are here for us even when it is not an emergency,” the family said. “Now they know us, they know are family.”

“Being part of Wynyard’s community paramedicine project has given me a better appreciation for different parts of health care and strengthened my own skills as a paramedic,” explained Sackville. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know the Karakochuk family very much. Not a day has gone by that they haven’t expressed their sincerest appreciation for what we do.”

“There are STARS in the air, but these paramedics are the stars of our town,” said Margret Karakochuk.

British Columbia #BC | North #Vancouver #paramedics celebrate #ambulance station opening

North Vancouver paramedics and community members celebrated the opening of the new  BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) ambulance station today at the HOpe Centre at Lions Gate Hospital and honoured their former paramedic unit chief Tim Jones.
“This new space is a testament to the valuable role paramedics play in providing patient care and pays tribute to the legacy of inspiration Tim Jones provided to his fellow paramedics,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.

The purpose-built station is approximately 8,866 sq. ft. (824 sq. m) and includes covered ambulance bays. The new facility also has more storage space and expanded crew quarters so paramedics can review training materials and do paperwork between calls.

“Our paramedics are valued, and we feel proud to be able to support them through investments like this new ambulance station,” said Naomi Yamamoto, North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA. “I’m glad we are able to provide comfort and security for paramedics, as they help the people of British Columbia on the front-line, every day.”

“For those rare moments when paramedics aren’t responding to medical emergencies, a comfortable place to recharge is important for their well-being,” said PHSA/BCEHS Executive Vice President, Linda Lupini. “This new facility will help paramedics and benefit the communities they serve.”

“I noticed almost right away our paramedics were holding their heads a bit higher, taking that extra bit of care to ensure the station remains in pristine condition,” said BCEHS North Vancouver Unit Chief Jade Munro. “Last year was very difficult for our community and our paramedics with the passing of Unit Chief Tim Jones. This new station feels like a new beginning and I know Tim would want that for us.”

Unit Chief Tim Jones passed away in January 2014, but his presence remains throughout the new station with a memory wall in the station filled with photos of him with his BCEHS colleagues.

“Tim was a close friend of mine for over 30 years and I had the privilege of training with him as a paramedic here in North Vancouver,” said City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto. “Tim was a valued member of this station, and it is great to see his memory live on here.”

In 2014/15 paramedics responded to over 9,500 9-1-1 calls and completed 1,713 patient transfers in North Vancouver.  ​