Thanksgiving weekend brings food, family, and fun together, but remember to be safe

Next weekend is the Thanksgiving long weekend, usually a great time of family, fun and plenty of food. But what are you thankful for this weekend?

The men and women of Parkland Ambulance, the paramedics and communications personnel will be ready to help you any weekend. Their expertise will certainly be called upon to assist someone in need. We hope that won’t be you, but in the weekend of giving thanks, should you need emergency medical assistance, we will be there!

Twenty-four hours a day, weekends, holidays and evenings, these dedicated, courageous and giving people bring essential medical care right to your door. Usually we reserve the greeting for the end, but from all our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving and have a great long weekend.

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without a great turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and of course pumpkin pie for desert. Oh wait, almost forgot real whip cream not that spray foam stuff for the pie! I know you either love pumpkin pie or you don’t. But in the midst of stuffing ourselves be sure you remember some food safety tips:

• Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.

• It is easier to reheat at the destination rather trying to keep the meal hot as you travel to a family residence this weekend

• Be sure you ensure that food, especially poultry, is properly cooked. Meat at the bone should not be pink and juices should flow clear.

• Put away left overs as soon as possible before parking yourself on the couch for a nap

Do you know what to do if someone was choking? It’s not difficult but back blows, chest thrusts or abdominal thrusts (any combination of two) will relieve the obstruction. Be prepared just in case – don’t panic and you might just save someone’s life. Learn first aid!

Most meals will involve some alcohol but with a beer in one hand and turkey drumstick in the other you might need a paramedic if you are choking. To recognize someone who might be choking they cannot speak, they look frightened and usually push away from the table with an ineffective cough. You need to act fast as they are not breathing. Lean them forward and give several sharp back blows across their shoulder blades. Then reach around their stomach while you stand behind them and give several inward pulls into their stomach. Keep repeating till the object comes out. You should be successful in the first few tries but be persistent. Time is ticking, you need to act quickly or the next house guest won’t need dinner, he’ll be a paramedic summoned to help!

It is never too late to start thinking of yes, winter. I’ll be it we had a great summer; it is not if but when it will snow. Getting the furnace checked, test carbon monoxide detectors and tidy up the yard is some of those fall essentials. Carbon Monoxide detectors are now mandatory in all homes. But start thinking about your vehicle, before the rush, do you need winter tires? What about extra blankets, winter safety kit and a shovel. But then again where are the toques, mitts and winter coats? Now is the time vs. scrambling to find things the first time it does snow.

One final comment is the fall is a busy activity time. With hockey, volleyball, gymnastics or other indoor sports, the risk of injury is present just as it is outdoors.

The biggest single injury is that of a concussion. Any, I mean any blow to the head from a slip, trip, and fall, collision with another player or fixed object can cause a concussion.

It is not as simple as sitting the player out for a couple shifts or a period; it requires assessment by a physician, plenty of rest then a gradual return to exercise and competition depending on the severity of injury. Get the facts and make sure we don’t rush the return to play because we need to win the game. It isn’t about winning; it’s about having fun and getting that healthy exercise we, all need more of.