Tag Archives: 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.

Nova Scotia | Nova Scotians asked to reach out to neighbours in need after severe winter weather

Nova Scotians are reminded to check in on their neighbours, especially those who are elderly or with disabilities, following the severe winter storm.

“Most of the province was impacted by this winter storm causing road closures and power outages,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “All our key partners are working together including Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Nova Scotia Power Inc. and police services to help restore power and to re-open roads.

I want to add a special thank you to first responders and crews from Nova Scotia Power and Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal who have been working diligently around the clock to help ensure Nova Scotians are safe.”

The province received a mixed bag of weather with more than 60 cm of snow along with strong winds gusting up to 120 km per hour, rain, freezing rain and frigid temperatures. The severe weather caused some road closures and power outages in various parts of the province.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal will focus on getting 100-series highways, as well as main trunks and routes, opened and passable for traffic. It may be several days before local and gravel roads are plowed.

“The safety of Nova Scotians is our most important priority,” said Premier McNeil. “I encourage everyone to reach out to their loved ones and neighbours to help ensure that they are safe.”

The province is providing emergency support to first responders, including Emergency Health Services. Nova Scotians are asked to call 911 if a plow is needed to clear roads for emergency vehicles.

Anyone experiencing an emergency should call 911. For non-emergency health advice call 811 to get trusted information from a registered nurse.

Nova Scotians who have or are still experiencing power outages can call 1-877-252-3663 with any questions regarding their food supply.

For road conditions, go to http://novascotia.ca/tran/winter/.

Nova Scotia | Acadia U student recovering from meningitis in hospital

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang confirmed today, Feb. 11, that an Acadia University student is in hospital recovering from meningococcal meningitis.

This is the second case of an Acadia student contracting the disease. The strain is not yet known. The first patient passed away Feb. 1 from the B strain of the disease.

“I understand the heightened level of concern, and we are working with Acadia University and local public health officials to provide information to the university community, including students, parents, staff and faculty,” said Dr. Strang.

“Two confirmed cases in one population is unusual. If it is the B strain, we will begin a targeted vaccination program starting next week.”

The latest case is a female student who lives alone off campus, and does not have close contacts who would be at greater risk of contracting the disease. There was no known contact between her and the first student to contract meningitis.

The lab confirmed Tuesday night the case is meningococcal meningitis. Confirmation of the strain may take a few days. Local public health staff are already on campus to help the university prepare for a potential vaccination program and support student health services staff.

“It’s important to remember that even with this latest diagnosis, the risk of getting the disease remains low in the general public,” said Dr. Strang. “There is no need to cancel classes or limit the movement of Acadia students and staff. Basic precautions can help prevent spreading the disease.”

Steps to prevent the spread of meningitis include:
— not sharing drinks, water bottles, eating utensils, lip balm or toothbrushes
— reducing direct contact with nose and mouth discharges
— washing hands, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if washing isn’t possible

Anyone with severe symptoms should go to an emergency department or call 911. If unsure, call 811 for advice. Symptoms include:

— fever
— headache
— change in the level of alertness and/or altered mental state
— stiff neck
— rash
— nausea
— vomiting
— increased sensitivity to light

More information is available at http://novascotia.ca/dhw .

Nova Scotia | Medal of Bravery nominations now open

Nova Scotians have a chance to honour those who have put themselves at risk to help others.

Nominations are open for Nova Scotia’s Medal of Bravery. This is the eighth year for the award.

“This award is our way of thanking Nova Scotians who have gone above and beyond, in order to help those in need,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “It’s a privilege to recognize these courageous individuals. If you know someone who deserves this honour, I encourage you to take the time to nominate them.”

Nomination forms are available at Access Nova Scotia centres, offices of members of the legislative assembly and at www.novascotia.ca/bravery . The deadline for nominations is May 1.

Only acts of bravery that occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2007, will be considered under the Nova Scotia Medal of Bravery Act.

An advisory panel, chaired by retired brigadier-general Remi Saulnier, will select the recipients.

Other committee members are:
— CEO of the Emergency Management Office
— deputy minister of Justice
— Nova Scotia Fire Marshal
— president of the Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association
— commander of Land Force Atlantic Area
— Cynthia Stevenson, member at large
— Jim Hoskins, member at large

Completed nomination forms should be sent to: Provincial Secretary, Medal of Bravery, Department of Justice, 7th floor, 1690 Hollis St., Halifax, N.S., B3J 2L6.

Nova Scotia | Fifteen paramedics recognized for exemplary service

Fifteen Nova Scotia paramedics were awarded the Exemplary Services Medal today, Friday, Nov. 7, for their hard work helping Nova Scotians when they are most in need.

Each of the recipients has dedicated his or her career to providing high-quality emergency care, sometimes at great personal risk.

Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant presented the medals during a ceremony at Government House in Halifax.

“Paramedics are the quiet heroes among us who care for our citizens in their most vulnerable moments,” said Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant. “Today’s investiture symbolizes the Crown’s recognition of paramedics’ devoted service to our communities and provides an opportunity to publicly express our gratitude for their selfless actions.”

Medal recipients are:
— Greg Bayers, Dayspring, Lunenburg Co.
— John Campbell, Parrsboro
— Carlis Coulter, Tatamagouche, Colchester Co.
— James Currie, Shelburne, Shelburne Co.
— Gerald Dunlop, Baddeck
— Allan Keddy, Blockhouse, Lunenburg Co.
— Brian MacDonald, Margaree Centre, Cape Breton
— Travis MacNeil, Little Bras D’or, Cape Breton
— Lorna Mastin, Middleton
— Carla Middleburg, Baie Verte, New Brunswick
— Bill Muirhead, Stellarton
— Mike Newman, Nappan, Cumberland Co.
— Gordon Parker, Truro
— Brian Thibideau, Saulnierville, Digby Co.
— Dale Traer, Waverley

“Paramedics are an amazing group of people who, day after day, rush into unknown situations. They put themselves at risk to help save lives,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. “I want to thank our recipients today, and all paramedics across our province, for your professionalism and your willingness to offer excellent care when and where Nova Scotians need it.”

The Emergency Health Services Exemplary Service Medal was created in 1994. It is part of a national recognition program for people who work in high-risk jobs that enhance Canada’s public safety.

In addition to paramedics, police, firefighters, corrections officers, coast guard members and peace officers are also eligible for exemplary service medals.

Paramedics must be nominated by their peers or the public. Recipients must have demonstrated exemplary service in their careers for at least 20 years, including 10 years in an emergency medical services position that involves potential risk.

Nova Scotia’s Emergency Health Services system and its paramedics are known, around the world, as leaders in quality patient care and innovation. Representatives from the Netherlands, to Malaysia, and areas across North America, have come to the province to learn about successes here.

For more information on the awards, visit www.gg.ca

Nova Scotia | New fire safety program targets youth

A unique initiative launched in Nova Scotia today, Oct. 1, will encourage youth to become leaders in fire safety.

The Nova Scotia Office of the Fire Marshal is participating in a national initiative that provides teachers across the country with lesson plans on fire safety, and encourages every household to test and replace their smoke alarms during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 5-11.

“We’re thrilled to have the participation of our fire departments in this national program of the Council of Canadian Fire Marshals and Fire Commissioners,” said Harold Pothier, Nova Scotia’s Fire Marshal. “Fire departments and school teachers in our communities have long had a unique partnership in teaching children about fire safety that can leave a lasting impression on students and prevent tragedies years down the road.”

The initiative is expected to reach up to 100,000 students across Canada during Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month! It will be supported by local fire departments and the campaign’s website www.safeathome.ca .

“Fire is very unpredictable and can travel a lot faster than most people think,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Mark Furey. “This initiative is a great way to educate our youth on the importance of fire safety and, through them, educate their parents as students will take this information into their homes.”

“The potential benefits of a successful national outreach are enormous,” said Duane McKay, president of the national council. “In more than half of fatal fires, investigators find no working smoke alarms. Fire safety programs that focus on youth deliver the fire safety fundamentals they need to know to escape a burning home, while motivating parents to test and maintain their smoke alarms.”

Parents should watch for Test and Replace homework pages, which include a home fire escape planning sheet and a safety checklist. Once completed, parents and youth can register their home at www.safeathome.ca/testandreplace and download a certificate of completion for students to take back to class.

Smoke alarms are required on every storey of homes and outside all sleeping areas. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and batteries should be replaced at least once a year. If it is more than 10 years old, even if the alarm sounds when the test button is pushed, it should be replaced as cooking and dust can deteriorate the sensor over time.

More details on the initiative can be found at www.safeathome.ca/testandreplace .

During Fire Prevention Week in Nova Scotia, Mr. Furey, the Office of the Fire Marshal, first responders and other partners will hold a live twitter chat on fire safety Tuesday, Oct. 7, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #nsfiresafety.

BC | Out-of-province firefighters responding to assist with wildfires

An increase in fire activity around the province has prompted the Wildfire Management Branch to request the help of 200 additional fire suppression personnel from out-of-province.

On Saturday, July 19, 40 sustained action firefighters from Quebec, plus 20 from Nova Scotia and 20 from New Brunswick, will arrive in B.C. Ontario is supplying 120 more crew members who will arrive on Sunday, July 20. All personnel will be flown into Prince George and will be deployed throughout the province based on current and anticipated fire activity.

These resources join more than 1,500 provincial staff, nearly 800 B.C. contractors and 94 out-of-province personnel already engaged in fire response efforts.

Despite a temporary respite in temperatures in northern B.C., continued hot and dry conditions combined with provincewide wind gusts are expected throughout the weekend. The fire danger rating for the province is primarily “high” to “extreme”.

Campfire prohibitions are in effect in many areas of the Wildfire Management Branch’s jurisdiction.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on: