Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

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:

NS | Nova Scotians asked to check on neighbours in the wake of Arthur

Nova Scotians are being asked to check on their neighbours and elderly people in the areas hardest hit by post-tropical storm Arthur to see if they need any help.

Power outages are now in the third day and some Nova Scotians may not have power restored until Wednesday or later and are dealing with medical equipment issues, loss of battery power, lack of water, and spoiled food.

Nova Scotia Power crews are working to restore power, concentrated in mostly the western and central regions of the province.

Call 1-877-428-6004 to receive information on estimated restoration time in your area.

Comfort stations have been set up in some areas to help people. For a list of the centres go to, http://novascotia.ca/news/docs/2014/07/ComfortCentres.pdf .

NS | All provincial parks to close in preparation for Arthur

All provincial parks in Nova Scotia, including camping, beach parks, day-use parks and the Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park, will be closed to the public because of severe weather conditions expected from Tropical Storm Arthur.

All provincial camping parks and beach parks will be closed at 5 p.m. today, July 4. On Sunday, all parks will be re-evaluated for damage and safety concerns on a case-by-case basis before a decision is made to reopen.

The day-use parks will close at dusk tonight and may reopen some time on Sunday based on storm damage assessment.

The provincial wildlife park will be closed Saturday, but will reopen Sunday at 9 a.m. as usual.

“We take public safety very seriously especially when the forecast calls for high winds and storm surge from the expected storm,” said Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill.

Full refunds will be given for camping park cancellations because of Tropical Storm Arthur. All campers with reservations will be contacted by the park reservation agency to arrange refunds. Campers may consider rebooking a campsite for another day.

Public notice of park reopenings will be provided online at www.novascotiaparks.ca, via Twitter @DNRNovaScotia, and through media updates.

The Emergency Management Office is working with the Canadian Hurricane Centre, Environment Canada and other partners on the storm, gathering potential municipal impacts, identifying local risk areas and conducting information sessions with provincial and municipal emergency management officers and co-ordinators.

Strong high winds and heavy rainfall are a possibility. Check local broadcast networks for updates.

It is important to prepare emergency kits that include enough supplies for 72 hours. Information on emergency preparedness can be found at www.novascotia.ca/EMO .

NS | Hurricane preparedness guidance

The Emergency Management Office (EMO) is reminding Nova Scotians to take steps to help minimize risk of property and personal damage from a hurricane or tropical storm.

Strong winds, heavy rains and storm and power surges can cause significant damage. All Nova Scotians are asked to prepare in advance and monitor local weather forecasts this weekend.

The basic checklist includes:
– enough food and water for 72 hours
– monitoring local broadcast networks for updates
– securing gates, doors and windows
– moving yard furniture and securing trash cans, hanging plants and anything that can be picked up by wind
– checking radio batteries
– filling vehicles with gas and parking them away from trees
– removing dead or diseased branches from trees to make them more wind resistant
– keeping pets inside
– moving any type of watercraft to high ground

EMO is working with Environment Canada and partners on the approaching storm, gathering municipal information, identifying possible local risk areas and conducting information sessions with provincial and municipal emergency management officers and co-ordinators.

More storm tips can be found at http://novascotia.ca/just/EMO/prepare_for_an_emergency/risks/hurricanes.asp .

Nova Scotia | Warm temps may cause algae blooms

Warmer weather means Nova Scotians should watch for blue-green algae blooms in lakes and rivers.

“While the risk to health is fairly low, people should avoid contact with algae blooms and the water where they occur until the bloom has dissipated,” said Gary O’Toole, director of environmental health. “If you come in contact with a bloom and develop symptoms that persist for a few days, you should consult a physician.”

Also known as pond scum, the algae can be spotted by its blueish green, grassy or soupy appearance and sometimes, gives off a distinct odour. It can naturally form on any lake or river in the right conditions. Many types of blue-green algae are harmless, but some can produce toxins that pose a health risk to people and animals.

People should not swim in, drink from, or eat fish from water sources where blue-green algae is present. Water contaminated by the algae should not be used to prepare or cook food, and boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.

If water containing the algae is swallowed, symptoms may include stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Direct contact with skin from swimming may cause skin, nose, throat or eye irritations.

Nova Scotians who suspect they see an algae bloom can call and report it to their local Department of Environment office.

For more information, visit the departments of Environment and Health and Wellness websites at www.novascotia.ca/nse/water/docs/BlueGreenAlgae.pdf and www.novascotia.ca/hpp/environmental/ .

Nova Scotia | Seniors should be cautious with personal alert system vendors

Government is asking seniors to exercise caution if approached at home by private companies selling personal alert systems.

There are reports that a Freedom Home Living Solutions representative has been selling personal alert systems at seniors’ homes. The representative claims the company is contracted by the Department of Health and Wellness, and does not deliver the equipment after purchase.

The department does not have contracts with any personal alert system vendors.

The Better Business Bureau’s website has an alert about Freedom Home Living Solutions at www.bbb.org/maritime-provinces/business-reviews/medical-alarms/freedom-home-living-solutions-in-bedford-ns-33955 . The business does not have a permit to operate in Nova Scotia under the Direct Sellers Act. Tom Fennessey, owner and sole partner of the business, was associated with the Seniors Connect and JTF Alarms companies.

For information on consumer protection, visit http://novascotia.ca/snsmr/access/individuals/consumer-awareness.asp .

Nova Scotians who are approached by vendors and have concerns about legitimate business practices are encouraged to contact the Better Business Bureau or police.

Nova Scotia | Public consultation for sexual violence strategy begins

Nova Scotians are invited to provide input to shape the province’s first Sexual Violence Strategy.

The government would like to hear from all Nova Scotians who have been impacted by sexual violence or want to make a positive change. This includes victims, survivors, family members of victims and survivors, educators, employers, health-care professionals, advocates, community members and concerned citizens.

The online feedback form is available at http://novascotia.ca/coms/svs/your-feedback/ . The form can be completed online and submitted electronically, or can be printed and returned by mail. Feedback is anonymous and can be provided until July 18.

“While we have been meeting with service providers from across the province, we want to provide an opportunity to hear from all Nova Scotians on how to chart the course of action to address sexual violence in our province,” said Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard. “This issue impacts the lives of so many Nova Scotians, and each one of us has a role to play in changing a culture that enables sexual assault and sexual violence.

“Because we know that sexual violence is significantly under-reported to authorities, we want to hear from as many people as possible.”

Nova Scotians who want information or updates on the development of the strategy can access a new website, http://novascotia.ca/sexualviolencestrategy/ , which launched today, June 4.

“I know Nova Scotians appreciate the opportunity to have their voices be heard on this important issue,” said Margaret Mauger, executive director and counselling therapist at the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre. “Sexual violence is a complex issue that affects everyone and everyone deserves a chance to contribute to the conversation as to how the strategy will evolve and move forward.

“With diverse public input the strategy will have an inclusive foundation to better meet the needs of all people affected by sexual violence.”

The three-year provincial strategy, which will receive $2 million in funding per year, will focus on sexual violence prevention and improving services for victims.

NS | Know the risks – Prepare today for an emergency

It is not a matter of if a disaster will happen. It is a matter of when. Emergency situations often strike with little or no notice, and we need to be prepared.

The government is reminding Nova Scotians that it is everyone’s responsibility to know the risks, to plan ahead and prepare for potential emergencies during National Emergency Preparedness Week, from Sunday, May 4 to Saturday, May 10.

“Emergency preparedness begins at home,” said Mark Furey, Minister responsible for the Emergency Management Office. “Each of us can reduce the potential risks we face by better understanding what could happen and learning how to better prepare ourselves, our family, our property, and our community.”

Knowing the risks is critical to a person’s ability to be prepared for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency. The Emergency Management Office offers the following tips on how to prepare:
– prepare a home emergency kit
– prepare an emergency kit for your car
– select a common meeting place for the family
– list emergency phone numbers and addresses by the phone
– teach your children how and when to call 911
– plan for your pets

“Emergency planners spend a lot of time planning, preparing and practicing response,” said Heather MacKenzie-Carey, regional emergency management co-ordinator. “Knowing what to do in an emergency saves valuable time and resources, and possibly lives.”

“I strongly encourage Nova Scotians to take some time now to get ready and protect yourself and your family,” said Mr. Furey.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit http://novascotia.ca/just/EMO/prepare_for_an_emergency/

NS | Province raising awareness about Lyme disease

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Nova Scotia.

During the month, people enjoying the outdoors are encouraged to learn how to avoid the blacklegged tick bites that can cause the disease.

“While the risk of Lyme disease remains low in Nova Scotia, the tick population is growing so it’s important to practice simple precautions to avoid exposure,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief public health officer. “People should be mindful when working or playing in grassy, shrubby and wooded areas anywhere in the province.”

There are several easy ways to prevent or reduce contact with ticks:
– wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks so ticks are more visible, and enclosed shoes while working or playing outside or hiking in the woods
– pull socks up over pant legs and tuck in shirts
– spray clothing and exposed skin with an insect repellant containing DEET or Icaridin
– check clothing and exposed skin for ticks after working or playing outside in the bushes or tall grass, and remove any ticks attached to the skin
– when possible, take a bath or shower within two hours of coming indoors. This makes it easier to find ticks
– keep grass well cut to minimize suitable habitat for ticks on your property

Tick checks also help to prevent Lyme disease. Removing ticks as soon as possible can prevent or reduce the risk of infection, since blacklegged ticks can only transmit the bacterial infection after they have been attached to the skin for at least 24 hours.

“We work hard to ensure Nova Scotians are aware of these simple precautions to avoid Lyme disease,” said Dr. Strang. “We have information on our website, distribute posters and brochures, and send information to health professionals. We’re also working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada to raise awareness among individuals and health professionals about ticks and Lyme disease.”

There are six known areas in Nova Scotia where Lyme disease bacteria is present in ticks. They include areas of Lunenburg, Shelburne, Queens, Yarmouth and Pictou counties, and Halifax Regional Municipality. However, ticks could be anywhere and it is best to take precautions whenever working or playing outdoors.

There are many kinds of ticks in Nova Scotia, but only blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

Infected ticks can spread a bacterial infection through bites. If detected early, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. The earliest and most common symptom of Lyme disease is a bull’s-eye rash at the site of the bite. Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle aches and headaches.

If untreated, more serious illnesses can occur, including facial palsy which is a weakening of facial muscles, and heart or chronic joint problems. These complications can also be treated with antibiotics.

There have been 329 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme disease in Nova Scotia since 2002.

For more information, visit http://novascotia.ca/dhw/cdpc/lyme.asp .

Nova Scotia | Essential healthcare services bill introduced on March 31

The province introduced a bill today, March 31, to guarantee essential care for Nova Scotians during a strike or lockout affecting health care, homes for seniors, youth, or people with special needs.

The Essential Health and Community Services Act requires unions and employers to have an essential services agreement in place before job action is taken. If they cannot reach an agreement, an independent third party decides.

Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada without this type of essential services legislation.

“Like all Canadians, Nova Scotians deserve to know their health and safety won’t be in jeopardy during a labour disruption,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. “Government also values the critical work of employees who care for people who are sick, older, or have special needs. This legislation also protects the right to strike once an essential services agreement is in place.”

Essential service is based on the risk of death or serious health consequences if the service is not provided. These include services critical to mental or physical health.

Unions and employers affected by the legislation include those for:
– hospitals
– homes for seniors, the disabled or youth
– paramedics
– nurses
– ambulance dispatchers

The legislation takes effect as soon as it is passed, and does not expire.

The parties can request conciliation or mediation to help negotiate an essential services agreement. If they can’t agree on essential services, or fail to negotiate, either party can apply to the labour board. The legislation ensures the process happens quickly.

“Most employers and unions reach collective agreements without strikes or lockouts, but even the possibility of a labour disruption can create stress and confusion,” said Ms. Regan. “This bill gives certainty to people who need and provide care, and ensures essential services must be provided in the event of a strike or lockout.”

Employers or unions that take job action before an essential services agreement is in place can be fined $100,000 for the first day, and $10,000 for each additional day. People can be fined $1,000 for the first day, and $200 for each additional day.

At 12:01 a.m. on April 3, 2,400 registered nurses at Capital Health – who are represented by the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees’ Union – will be in a legal strike position. The NSGEU has suggested illegal strike action is possible before that date.

If you are a patient, and you’re wondering how your healthcare at Capital Health may be impacted, please visit www.cdha.nshealth.ca/job-action, or call (855) 473-2700.

Monday, March 31, 2014 – 9:08pm
Mediation between Capital Health and NSGEU Local 97 (registered nurses) ended in an impasse Monday evening, March 31.
We are disappointed we were not able to reach an agreement.
The Nova Scotia government introduced essential services legislation at 7 p.m. Monday night.
NSGEU has indicated in previous correspondence to its members that introduction of the legislation will result in “immediate strike action.”
Capital Health requires all staff to report for all scheduled shifts except in accordance with terms of a legal strike.
A legal strike by the 2,400 members of Local 97 (registered nurses) cannot begin until at least Thursday, April 3, at 12:01 a.m.
All non-striking employees will be expected to come to work during any labour disruption. Your manager has details about crossing picket lines and duties.
Visit the Capital Health website for the most up-to-date information about service closures, procedures for crossing picket lines and Q and As. There is information here for staff and the public (patients, clients and visitors).
All employees are expected to wear their IDs at all times. Security will be checking. If you need a new ID, speak to your manager as soon as possible.
Thursday, March 27, 2014 – 12:08pm

Capital Health has met with representatives of NSGEU Local 97 (registered nurses) this week to review emergency staffing levels in the event of a strike.

We used the opportunity to lay out the clinical rationale for the staffing levels our physicians and directors have identified as necessary to avoid endangering the lives of patients in 195 service areas where NSGEU registered nurses work.

In response, the union has agreed to provide greater levels of emergency staffing in many areas as well as additional on-call coverage.

However, the union’s proposed emergency staffing numbers remain well short of our clinical contingency plan.

Some outstanding areas of concern include:

  • Proposed registered nurse staffing levels for patients with acute mental illness will not meet our clients’ needs. This will create an unsafe environment for patients and staff of mental health inpatient units.
  • More than half of beds in certain units at the QEII Health Sciences Centre will close. These units-medicine and community-receive many admissions from the emergency department. This will result in a backlog of admitted patients in the emergency department during a strike.
  • Fourteen of 26 neurosurgery beds would close during a strike under proposed staffing levels.  This is a provincial service. Without this capacity, it is likely we would have to send patients out of province for treatment.
  • Proposed registered nurse staffing levels for post-operative care at QEII will not allow us to meet 48-hour standards for urgent surgery.
  • To continue a methadone treatment program, we must take a registered nurse from the 16-bed inpatient detox unit. As a result, that unit will close during a strike.

Any registered nurse staffing levels less than those requested by our physicians and clinical leaders who plan and deliver care will put our patients at risk and have a negative impact on our provincial health care system.