Make sure you have the right gear

With the snow gone the thoughts to outdoor activities takes on new meaning and gets families out enjoying the day. With any activity we at Parkland Ambulance Care want to encourage you to have a word with yourself. Sound strange? Before every activity run through a checklist in your head and make sure the right gear is part of the plan. Let me explain.

Headed out as a family for a bike ride parents insist that their children don a properly fitting bike helmet. Though many parents themselves choose not to wear one. Does that set a bad example? Is it possible that moms and dads won’t fall from their bike? Bike helmets significantly reduce the risk of a serious head injury. As Ron Horn, From Fresh Air Experience was explaining to me this past weekend, new technology gives you even more protection to the back of the head. Cycling is a great activity but wear the gear and a helmet is one piece. Learn and practice the rules of the road too! How old is your cycling helmet? They need to be replaced every few years.

Spring means a time to hit the trails or create a new trail while we operate ATV. But operating an ATV whether for fun or in the farm yard to do chores comes with some attention to safety as well. Wearing a helmet, gloves, goggles, long pants, good footwear and no alcohol are things we need to be aware of. Knowing the terrain is essential but part of the fun as folks might try to bury through a mud bog. An ATV still can tip if the angle is too steep or it is easy to lose control if the bank or trail suddenly gives way.

With the lakes opening up, many people can hardly wait to drop the boat into the water either for fishing or recreational activities like water skiing. Every activity on the water whether canoeing, kayaking, fishing in a small boat or being pulled along wake boarding requires one common piece of equipment, a life jacket. These are not seat cushions, nor are they meant to be put on in an emergency as if you were on evacuation from an airplane, a life jacket is meant to be worn each and every time you are on the water in the boat.

Don’t think you’ll have time to put it on before the boat capsizes. Someone or something might prevent that from happening. Nor will you be able to swim to shore. In case your boat capsizes, stay with the vessel as the cold water will be more than enough to contend with.

Knowing what to do in an emergency is essential as having a word with yourself. Understand that every activity comes with some element of risk but if we can minimize the risk but doing simple things we can and will often save our lives.

This week is Emergency Preparedness Week where we focus attention to getting prepared. From planning a road trip to visit family, to working in the yard or getting ready for a busy farming season, there is always an element of preparation.

For example, we make sure the vehicle is full of fuel, we brought the right gear and didn’t forget anything at home. But what about a simple first aid kit? If you were traveling in unfamiliar area and something happened where you need to call for help, can you describe your location.

Dry brush around the yard, fallen trees from winter or a general yard clean up, lessen the degree of a grass fire in a rural area. If faced with an evacuation from home, what would you take, where would you go, all things to consider. The Government of Canada has a great web site where there is a lot of great resources. Don’t delay get prepared today. Be Safe!