British Columbia Wildfires 2017: Support the Relief Effort
Wildfires During British Columbia Summers are Becoming More Common
This summer of 2017 is shaping up to be one of the most active wildfire seasons we’ve seen in years. Everyone is talking about the speed with which the fires emerged and the scale of damage that they are doing as over 200 wildfires rage across the province. In 2015, Pickering Safety published a blog post to raise awareness about fire safety and to highlight some products we carry that can help people do their part to prevent wildfires. This year, given the state of emergency we’re currently in, we’d like to focus solely on highlighting ways in which people can contribute to helping those who have lost their homes or who have otherwise been impacted.
Please Be Aware of Wildfires
Most of the active wildfires in the province were started by lightening storms, however, there are instances where cigarettes or neglected campfires have also contributed to, or started, a wildfire. Although fires started by humans via cigarettes, campfires, fireworks etc. can be contained, they eat up valuable resources that could be used to battle the much larger naturally occurring wildfires that are threatening peoples homes. During a state of emergency, every fire fighter’s time is highly valuable and shouldn’t be wasted putting out fires caused by avoidable, man-made situations. Campfires are strictly banned across the province right now and please be responsible with your cigarettes, fireworks or other potentially fire-causing instruments. Keep a fire extinguisher at your home and your office and perhaps a mask and some burn management first aid supplies on-hand in case of emergencies. Lastly, avoid highway routes that are near active wildfire zones. There have been quite a few road closures and evacuations throughout the summer across the province. If you have travel plans, keep yourself informed of areas you should avoid so as not to put unnecessary strain on the system.
Canadian Red Cross Fire Relief
The Canadian Red Cross is probably the largest and most active organization that’s helping those who have been impacted by the wildfires raging across the province. Their primary concern is helping those who have been evacuated find essentials like food, water and shelter. In their own words:
“Massive wildfires have triggered a province-wide state of emergency in British Columbia. Fast moving flames have forced thousands of people from their homes. Urgent support is needed for individuals and families evacuated from their communities.
The Canadian Red Cross is supporting the B.C. government in providing relief for those affected and a British Columbia Fires Appeal has been opened for Canadians who wish to help those in need.”
The Relief Effort Needs Time and Money
Safety should be everyone’s concern especially given the broad scope of this emergency. Anyone could be effected by a wildfire and it seems almost every summer a different group of people are massively impacted. The Canadian Red Cross Fire Relief has called for people to donate their time and money to helping their efforts. Volunteers can sign up on their website and monetary contributions can also be made online. There are further details on the specific initiatives your donations will help support also discussed on their website here.
Vancouver is arguably never more beautiful than during the summer months. The transition from winter to spring and from spring to summer happens quickly in the Vancouver area and results in dramatic temperature and weather changes. The summer season in Vancouver brings with it much warmer temperatures and much less rainfall. Conditions are less cold and less slippery, therefore, the work environment in some industries like construction, fire fighting, mining, forestry and law enforcement adapts slightly to take advantage of the weather.
More ‘Outdoors’ Work and a Variety of Safety Challenges
The nicer weather means a whole host of industries can operate at increased capacity. This is particularly true for industries like ‘paining’, ‘construction’ and ‘landscaping’. However, increased activity in these industries means exposure to a different set of safety challenges than employers and employees are used to in the cooler months. Workers are often expected to work outdoors for longer hours which can expose them to higher temperatures and depending on the nature of the work more safety risks if they’re expected to work on different equipment to facilitate the work.
Make Sure You Have Access to Fall Protection Gear
In industries like painting and construction the summertime means more work that is performed at great heights. When workers are expected to climb ladders or operate cranes it’s vital that they have access to fall protection gear that will prevent injury and death. Although slippery surfaces are often more anticipated in the winter months, the increased volume of work being done in the summertime at higher elevations means the danger is just as real. Pickering Safety recommends these fall protection harnesses to safeguard against serious injury.
Re-think Those First Aid Kits
Many components of first aid are effected by the summer weather. Workers clothing, at-work nutrition and hydration all need to be re-thought during the summer especially when it’s expected they’ll be working in ‘exposed’ conditions for extended periods of time. We recommend checking out WCB requirements for ‘seasonal’ industries using the WCB first aid kit tool on our website. It’s important for both the employee and the employer to take these changing conditions seriously. Pickering Safety offers first aid supplies for all seasons. Our supplies are of the highest quality and our wholesale prices make us a good fit for workers and business owners who want to invest in their safety and the safety of their employees.