Health and Safety Info
Personal safety and illness and injury prevention are essential to healthy living.
The following fact sheets are intended to provide some basic, and often common sense, information that we hope you will find beneficial.
Cold weather can be dangerous and you should take precautions to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia. Both conditions are caused by excessive exposure to low temperatures, wind or moisture. Young children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to heat loss.
When venturing outside in winter, be sure to:
- Check the temperature and limit your time outdoors if it's very cold, wet or windy.
- Dress warmly and bundle up in several layers of loose clothing.
- Wear mittens rather than gloves, and cover your ears and head with a warm hat.
- Wear socks that will keep your feet warm and dry.
- Keep moving
- Stay hydrated and limit alcohol consumption.
Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues. It's the most common injury resulting from exposure to severe cold, and most often occurs on fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Exposed skin is most vulnerable to frostbite, however even covered skin can be affected.
Signs of Frostbite - include pale grey, waxy textured skin in affected area cold to the touch, numbness and localized pain, swelling and blistering.
First Aid- Get out of the cold, remove wet clothing and gently rewarm the affected area. If numbness and pain do not subside, blisters develop, or skin does not return to a normal colour, seek medical attention.
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can't work normally.
Hypothermia is often caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in cold water. Primary treatments for hypothermia are methods to warm the body back to a normal temperature.
Signs of Hypothermia - include confusion, lethargy, weakness, apathy, pale skin colour.
Treatment – If you suspect someone may have hypothermia, seek immediate medical attention by calling 9-1-1. If possible, get the person indoors, remove any wet clothing and wrap them in dry blankets to begin slowly rewarming him or her. If the person is not breathing
A medical emergency is an event that you reasonably believe threatens your or someone else in such a manner that immediate medical care is needed to prevent death or serious harm to health.
If you can answer “YES” to any of these questions, you should call 9-1-1.
- Is the condition life or limb threatening?
- Could the condition worsen quickly on the way to the hospital?
- If you move the victim, could it cause further injury?
- Does the person need immediate care that paramedics could provide?
- Would a delay in getting the person to hospital cause their health to deteriorate?
Medical emergencies include:
- Severe difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- A rapid heartbeat at rest especially if associated with shortness of breath or feeling faint
- You witness someone faint/pass out or find someone unresponsive
- Difficulty speaking, numbness, or weakness of any part of the body
- Sudden dizziness, weakness or mental changes (confusion, very odd behavior, difficulty walking)
- Sudden blindness or vision changes
- Heavy bleeding from a body cavity
- Bleeding from any wound that won't stop with direct pressure
- Broken bones (Obvious deformity, visible through an open wound, a broken leg)
- Severe burns
- Allergic reaction, especially if there is any difficulty breathing
- Extremely hot or cold skin
- Suspected poisoning or drug overdose
- New severe headache
- Sudden intense pain
- Someone threatening to hurt or kill themselves or someone else
If you're not sure, call 9-1-1 and the trained dispatcher will advise you. It is better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 dispatcher determine if you need emergent assistance. Always err on the side of caution. When in doubt, call.
When You Call 9-1-1…
- STAY on the phone until the dispatcher tells you to hang up.
- Answer all of the 9-1-1 dispatcher’s questions.
- Follow any instructions provided by the dispatcher, including care for the patient or advice to make your location easier for responding paramedics to locate.
- If you or the person you are calling for has Advanced Directives or other legal documents regarding instructions for the care to be given, please have these available when help arrives.
- If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, do not hang up before the call is answered and you have spoken with a call-taker or emergency crews may be dispatched to investigate your situation.