Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

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.

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.

Nova Scotia #NS | Govt seeks public input on use of #ServiceAnimals

The Department of Justice is seeking feedback on the definition and protection of rights of service animal users. It will be used to shape new legislation governing service animals.

“With the increasing use of service animals in Nova Scotia, we must ensure we are protecting the rights of people who rely on service animals,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General, Lena Metlege Diab. “There is confusion and we need to clarify what qualifies as a service animal, and the training and identification expectations that would be required to receive legal protection.”

Anne MacRae, executive director of the Disabled Persons Commission, said she agrees the rights of people who use service animals must be protected.

“We are encouraged by the steps being taken to help define these rights,” she said.

The use of guide dogs and other service animals are increasing as they provide critical support for Nova Scotians who are blind or visually impaired, and for people with other disabilities. This could include people who have autism, mobility issues, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, have seizures, who experience dissociative identity disorder, or who have other illnesses or disabilities that can be helped by a service animal.

“I am pleased that government is seeking clarity on the use of service animals,” said Charlie MacDonald, member of the minister’s advisory panel on accessibility legislation and guide dog user. “It’s very important to hear from the community; they’ll help shape the legislation and eventually help educate others on what the rights of service animal users are.”

Three consultations will be held in an open-house format:

— June 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Sydney Justice Centre, in the multi-purpose room on the lower level, 136 Charlotte St.
— June 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Human Rights Commission, in the resolution conference room, 6th floor, 1601 Lower Water St., Halifax
— June 26, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Yarmouth Justice Centre, in the conference room, 164 Main St. (French interpretation services available at this session)

Those planning to attend and require accommodation for a disability, can let organizers know by calling 902-424-7729.

A discussion paper and an online survey are now available for input on the definition of service animals, training standards, identification standards and penalties for breaking laws that protect service animal users.

Nova Scotians can access the discussion paper and provide feedback in many ways:

— feedback can be submitted online in English and French at http://novascotia.ca/just/serviceanimalconsultation.asp
— the discussion paper will be available in English, French, ASL, Braille and large font
— comments can be emailed to serviceanimals@novascotia.ca or mailed to: Service Animals Consultation, Nova Scotia Department of Justice, Policy, Planning and Research, P.O. Box 7, Halifax, N.S., B3J 2L6
— use TTY through the Disabled Persons Commission at 902-424-2667, or toll free within Nova Scotia at 1-877-996-9954
— phone 902-424-7729 for more information or to ask questions

Comments will be accepted until July 31.

Nova Scotia #NS | New team of #sexualassault #nurseexaminers to be based in #Sydney

Sydney will be the location of a new team of sexual assault nurse examiners.

These registered nurses have specialized training to provide emotional support for victims, crisis intervention and forensic evidence collection.

“We know there are major gaps in services today for victims of sexual assault, and we’re taking steps this year to make services more widely available,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. “We have two existing teams in Halifax and Antigonish and we’re adding two more, one of which will be located in Sydney.”

The Department of Health and Wellness, Nova Scotia Health Authority and IWK Health Centre will work together to determine whether the service will be hospital-based or co-ordinated by a community organization. With either model, the team will travel to health facilities within the region to provide service where it is needed.

“The program expansion will help strengthen our clinical response and, most importantly, it will enhance the support and care we provide to the victims of sexual assault,” said Lindsay Peach, vice-president of integrated health services, community support and management, Nova Scotia Health Authority. “The program builds on training that registered nurses already have and will give others the opportunity to become nurse examiners.

“This benefits people in our community as well as health-care professionals.”

Both new teams will be in place by late 2015. The department, health authority and IWK will also work together to identify a location and model for a team in the western zone, which covers southwestern Nova Scotia.

The sexual assault nurse examiner program is part of government’s broader sexual violence strategy being developed by the Department of Community Services.

Nova Scotia #NS | #AMBER Alert relaunched to better leverage #Facebook and mobile devices

The power and reach of social media will be used to its full potential to better protect children and certain vulnerable adults who are abducted in Nova Scotia.

Provincial policing partners announced today, May 25, that Nova Scotia’s AMBER Alert program will now have a dedicated Facebook page and, with Facebook Canada, will deliver notifications directly to Nova Scotians on their mobile devices.

“If the unthinkable happens and a child or vulnerable person has been abducted, Nova Scotians want to know police have the tools they need to alert the community and find the person,” said Justice Minister Lena Metlege Diab. “I’m pleased to join our policing partners today, on International Missing Children’s Day, to announce an enhancement to AMBER Alert in Nova Scotia.”

Police have launched a Facebook page for AMBER Alert Nova Scotia. Facebook users are encouraged to “like” the AMBER Alert Nova Scotia page to help spread the message when a child or vulnerable person is abducted to help police find them.

Nationally, Facebook Canada announced today AMBER Alerts will be delivered directly to the News Feed of people who are in a designated search area. They will receive comprehensive information, including a photograph and all available details, about an abducted child or vulnerable person. The alert will only appear in the mobile News Feeds of people who are in a designated search area and are therefore most likely in a position to help. Facebook users will be able to share the Alert easily and instantly with family and friends.

“This is a unique partnership with Facebook, police, the RCMP, and media that engages all Nova Scotians to help keep our communities safe,” said Truro Police Chief David MacNeil, president of the Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association. “A strong presence on Facebook, combined with direct notifications, will greatly improve how quickly and widely we can get word out when an AMBER Alert has been issued.”

“With over 13 million Canadians using Facebook on their mobile phone every day, it makes sense to harness that and drive as much awareness as possible when a child is abducted,” said Jordan Banks, global head of vertical strategy and managing director of Facebook Canada. “The most effective system will be one in which Facebook text messaging, broadcast and other channels all work together to help authorities in the search.”

Nova Scotians are also reminded they can receive AMBER Alert notifications via text message. People are invited to visit www.wirelessamber.ca to give their cellphone number to receive a text message when an AMBER Alert is issued in Canada.

AMBER Alert has been available in Nova Scotia since May 2004. The system allows police to distribute an emergency alert to the public when a child younger than 18 or a person with a proven mental or physical disability has been abducted and it is believed their life is in danger. RCMP in Nova Scotia issue all alerts on behalf of police agencies in the province.

Information is provided quickly to the public through volunteer efforts of local radio and television broadcasters, and now through social media and text message. Fortunately, no police agency in Nova Scotia has had to issue an AMBER Alert to date.

Nova Scotia #NS | #Paramedics honoured for decades of service

Fifty-two paramedics with between 20 and 40 years of experience caring for Nova Scotians were recognized for their service yesterday, May 26, by Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine.

“We have always relied on our highly trained paramedics to provide expert care in emergencies,”said Mr. Glavine. “More and more, they’re also taking an expanded role in our communities, working in teams to improve and expand the care available across the province.

“These paramedics have seen many changes in their twenty-plus years of practice, and Nova Scotians are grateful for their expertise.”

Paramedics and others who have provided emergency health services to Nova Scotians for 20 years or more are eligible for the Paramedic Long Service Award.

In recent years, paramedics have taken on an expanded role in the health-care system. They now provide primary care in some communities, working alongside family physicians and nurses. In the Halifax area, paramedics work in nursing homes to provide care to residents through the Extended Care Paramedic program.

There are more than 800 Emergency Health Services paramedics working in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia #NS | Knowing #grassfire myths and safety tips reduces risks

Knowing grass-fire myths and fire safety tips can help avoid risks to people and property.

“Every year, our fire prevention experts work to remind Nova Scotians not to indulge in the senseless tradition of setting grassfires,” said Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill. “There is no science to support that these fires have any benefit to grass growth or to the overall appearance of lawns.”

Despite folklore, burning grass:
— reduces grass growth by 50 to 70 per cent
— does not make the grass come in greener
— helps weeds grow by clearing room in the soil for weed seeds left behind before the snowfall

Grass fires can lead to the loss of forests, houses, barns and wildlife habitat. A complete list of grass-burning myths is available at http://novascotia.ca/natr/forestprotection/wildfire/firecentre/grass-burning.asp .

Campfires and brush-pile fires are also riskier in warm, dry weather. It is illegal to burn between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. during wildfire risk season, March 15 – Oct. 15. If you have to burn, it is best to burn later in the day and with a water source close at hand. The burning restrictions map that shows when and where it is safe and legal to have a campfire or burn a brush pile is at www.novascotia.ca/burnsafe . It is updated daily at 2 p.m.

The province spent close to $1 million fighting wildfires last year. There have been 92 wildfires so far this season. More than 99 per cent of all wildlfires are started by people.

If you spot a wildfire, report it by calling 1-800-565-2224 or 911.

Nova Scotia #NS | Get #prepared during #Emergency Preparedness Week

Nova Scotians are urged to be prepared for emergency situations as part of Emergency Preparedness Week, May 3-9.

“After the winter we just experienced with floods, flash freezing and snow storms, we all have to be prepared for unexpected situations,” said Mark Furey, Minister responsible for the Emergency Management Office. “We know that many types of situations can develop in our province at any time. We must be ready.”

Nova Scotians are encouraged to take three steps to prepare for an emergency: know the risk; make a plan; and get an emergency kit.

Some risks are seasonal, like winter storms, flooding, wildfires, and hurricanes. Other year-round risks include house fires, chemical spills, or road accidents. To prepare, people should think about things like how long they can get by without electricity or running water.

A plan will help residents deal with emergencies and should include where to find things that will be needed and what to do during an emergency.

An emergency kit should have everything needed to keep people healthy for at least 72 hours.

On Tuesday, May 5, Mr. Furey, emergency management co-ordinators around the province, and other partners, will host a Twitter chat on preparing for emergencies from 10:30 a.m. to noon. People can join in by using the hashtag #epweek

“The more prepared we are, the better we’re able to provide for the safety and comfort of our families and loved ones,” said Mr. Furey.

To learn more about putting together an emergency plan and kit, visit http://novascotia.ca/dma/emo/prepare_for_an_emergency/

Nova Scotia #NS | #Paramedics to provide in-home support for #palliative care patients

Palliative patients in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will soon be able to get more support from paramedics for pain and symptom management, at home.

“Many people don’t want to spend any part of their remaining months in hospital, they want to stay home, with their loved ones, in a setting that gives them comfort,” said Dr. Alix Carter, medical director of research for Emergency Health Services and EMS division director of Dalhousie Department of Emergency Medicine.

“But when they are experiencing unmanageable pain or other symptoms, and their regular care team is unavailable, they may end up calling 9-1-1 and being transported to hospital. With this project, paramedics will have new tools and skills which will allow them to provide palliative support that matches with the person’s wishes, including the possibility of managing symptoms at home.”

This care will be offered to patients starting in early May.

Before this project, 9-1-1 calls for palliative care patients required paramedics to transport them to hospital.

All 1,400 ground-ambulance paramedics in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are receiving training to increase their skills and resources to manage palliative care symptoms — such as pain, breathlessness, fear and anxiety.

In Nova Scotia, registering in EHS Nova Scotia’s special patient program will make it simpler for paramedics to provide care that is consistent with patients’ wishes.

Karen MacDonald, who cared for her husband at home for seven months before he passed away, says this program will help families feel comfortable as they follow their loved ones’ wishes to keep them at home.

“You’re always questioning, wondering ‘am I doing everything right?’ You feel guilty. It’s unknown territory for someone with no health-care training,” Ms. MacDonald said.

“This will allow a lot more people to consider bringing their loved ones home. It will give them someone to guide them.”

Project partners are the Department of Health and Wellness, Cancer Care Nova Scotia and Emergency Health Services, Dalhousie University’s department of emergency medicine, Health P.E.I. and Island EMS. The project has financial support from the Canadian Partnership against Cancer and Health Canada.

More information is available at novascotia.ca/dhw/ehs

Nova Scotia | Severe winter weather clean-up continues

Nova Scotians are asked to remain patient and drive with caution as clean-up continues after the latest winter storm.

Most of the province experienced record single-day snowfalls, on top of snow from the previous storm. Several areas have reported ongoing high winds and whiteout conditions.

“Our staff and gear have been flat out across the province, 24/7 since the storm started. First and foremost I want to thank our hard-working crews for their ongoing efforts,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan. “We do not hold anything back when it comes to clearing our roads and keeping drivers safe. With this level of snow falling in such a short period of time, it will take more time than usual to clear what has built up.

“We understand the frustration, but ask that Nova Scotians continue to be patient as our crews continue their work.”

Most main highways are open, though some are down to one lane. Crews anticipate it will be at least 24 to 36 hours before all local and gravel roads are open.

“The extraordinary amount of snowfall throughout the province brought with it a lot of challenges,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Mark Furey, who is responsible for the Emergency Management Office. “I want to thank everyone for their patience and a special thanks to the snow plow operators and first responders for their efforts to help keep Nova Scotians safe.

“We urge people to check in on their neighbours, especially seniors and those with special needs, to help ensure they are safe.”

The Office of the Fire Marshal encourages residents to:
— shovel two exits from their home in case of fire
— clear snow from air exchangers, dryer vents and furnace exhausts
— clear a fire hydrant near their home
— remove snow and ice from storm drains
— be aware of the amount of snow on their roof. Excess amounts can be dangerous. Hire professionals to clear snow off roofs.

For more information, go to novascotia.ca/dma/emo/ .

In case of emergency, residents should call 911 as dispatchers co-ordinate with Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal area offices to ensure first responders can access roads.

Follow Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal on Twitter @NS_TIR for road condition or closure updates.