Make time for safety this summer

B.C. Ambulance Service provides safety tips for fun in the sun


Special to the Morning Star

Ah, yes – it’s summer, and we can all enjoy the sun, the beach, the easy summer living. Vacations, camping, day trips to see the sights – these are what golden summer memories are made of – especially as we approach the final long weekend of summer.

But it’s also important that we remember to be aware of the hidden dangers of summertime. It’s one way to ensure that you’ll enjoy the photos from your summer fun for years to come.

*Travel – Be sure to keep your cell phone charged, and consider purchasing a second battery. Always have a first aid kit in the car. Make note of landmarks and direction so emergency personnel can find your location easily if you need to call 911.

*Water and pools – Children are particularly vulnerable to accidents in pools.  They can drown in less than five centimetres of water, so never leave a child unattended near water.  Always empty wading pools after supervised use. People really enjoy being in and around some of the beautiful lakes Vernon has to offer. When on the lake, a life jacket can save your life, but only if you wear it.

*Bikes, skateboards and rollerblades – Helmets can significantly reduce the risk of brain injury for all ages when worn appropriately. Children should wear a helmet at all times, even if they’re just riding a tricycle; a fall from as little as two feet can result in significant trauma to a child’s brain.

*Cars – Never leave a child or pet in your car – even with the windows partly rolled down the interior temperature can reach 50 degrees Celsius in as little as 10 minutes.

*Sun Sense – Guard against heat stroke by moving to the shade. Take a break once in a while so that you don’t overdo sun exposure, and drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. Headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, clammy/pale skin and weak or rapid pulse are all common signs of heat exhaustion.

*Campfires and barbecues – Never leave a fire or barbecue unattended or use a camp stove in a confined space; always keep children a safe distance from the heat. Remember that even a fire that has been recently put out can generate enough heat to cause a serious burn in a child.

*Pull over for paramedics and other emergency responders – If an ambulance is travelling with lights and siren on, paramedics are responding to a life-threatening situation or are taking a patient to receive urgent care. B.C. Ambulance Service crews respond to more than 486,000 events every year throughout the province. That’s nearly one call every minute 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In Vernon alone, we responded to more than 6,700 calls last year. When minutes can affect a patient’s outcome, paramedics use lights and siren so that they can reach their destination as quickly as possible.

So enjoy a wonderful summer with family and friends.  Be sure you have lots of great memories and photos to share for years to come.

Make time for safety in the summertime sun but don’t forget the sunscreen. I know that I’m going to enjoy all that B.C. has to offer this summer.

Mike Boyarski is the paramedic unit chief for the B.C. Ambulance Service in Vernon.