The leaves are falling, the air is beginning to feel cool, and we are starting to pull out our jackets each morning only to take them off again at Noon. We are beginning to prepare for the dreaded ‘S’ word, which will be here before we know it. Perhaps I’m not the only one who has noticed there is something else in the air... the spirit of Halloween!
We are beginning to see the spooky yards with decorations, parents in the store with costumes in hand and carts full of candy. This time of year is magical for all ages! Children will soon fill the sidewalks with all kinds of characters, ready to experience the fun filled evening that Halloween provides for the youngsters in our community. For adults, seeing all the children can bring us pure happiness and laughter, at least it does for me. When I see the different costumes, and the dedication that children have to venturing out in our Saskatchewan weather on Halloween night, I enjoy seeing their spirit and sense their joy. To witness the little ones taking part in a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation is magical to see.
With all the fun to be had, we want to ensure safety is top priority! Each child should be able to have a 'spooktacular' night from start to finish, and get home safe to enjoy some treats to end the night. Watch the video to review a few safety tips:
We are almost ready to shout, “Trick or Treat”! Halloween night can be a chilly one, I know putting our costumes over a snowsuit is no fun, but being warm means keeping ourselves safe. The weather is constantly changing at this time of year, so to ensure adults and the children are dressed appropriately, double check what the temperature will be for trick or treating.
Sometimes there are potential hazards when it comes to decorations, such as candles inside Halloween decorations, perhaps inside pumpkins, so it is best to keep a safe distance and be cautious.
Being visible is one thing, but having visibility is another! Are you able to see out of your costume? Perhaps there is a potential tripping hazard with your costume, we want to protect ourselves and others from having a trip occur. Make sure an adult goes through each child’s candy haul before they indulge in their delicious collection. Any suspicious items in the bag like opened wrappers or lose candy should be discarded, to be on the safe side.
Respect the space of others while going door to door. Social distancing is a big part of the world we live in today, so keep a safe distance of 6 feet from others who are not part of your group.
Although Halloween is mostly an outdoor adventure, face masks worn can be a brilliant idea to keep each other safe. Consider wearing a face mask if your costume leaves your face exposed. By following a few safety tips, your Halloween night will be nothing but 'TERROR-ific' fun!
Let’s hear from you! What will you and your family be dressed as this Halloween?
Community Relations Coordinator
The ultimate title of ‘man’s best friend’ has been well earned over the last millennia by our canine companions, as the Dog’s loyal relationship with humanity has been unmatched. That is, until recently. A new companion has arrived: It is electronic, it fits in our pocket, and even though its computing power surpasses most ten-year-old desktops, we still underwhelmingly call it a ‘phone’. As these electronic devices become more integral to our everyday lives, this new iteration of ‘man’s best friend’ is now regularly in our hands at the coffee shop, grocery store, at our workplaces, and in our homes. Rather than setting aside dedicated time to operating these devices, they are invited with us wherever we go. This is where a danger exists, because as we rely on our mobile electronic tools more and more, the temptation to multitask grows stronger. The lines are becoming blurred between a safe moment and an unsafe moment to operate these handheld devices, because their use as we complete daily tasks is perceived as more natural every day.
What can be said about our new electronic companions that have not become obvious? Yes, they are a distraction. Yes, they have become necessary. And no, there is no alternative for them in sight. Discovery, communication, entertainment-it’s all there on our devices. For those concerned about dangerous distractions, the expulsion of these devices from society cannot be a reasonable objective. No rational argument can be made to remove these machines from our lives. Limitations on their use, like distracted driving laws, are working towards a solution. But what about other situations where multitasking on a mobile device becomes a distraction?
The real problem with our new electronic best friend is becoming clear. These powerful handheld computers can present a danger to our wellbeing because we seem unable to resist operating them whilst conducting our daily business. Learning which situations are suitable to sneak a quick look down at our devices, and which are not, is a valuable step in understanding the risky situations we put ourselves in every day. So, when is an appropriate time to utilize these mobile tools? If it is too distracting to use a device while driving or cycling, is an everyday task like walking down the street also too hazardous to justify operating our ‘phones’?
In 2018, researchers in British Columbia at UBC Kamloops investigated this concept of distracted walking. Researchers set up cameras to track the prevalence of mobile device use at a busy intersection. They found that over 1/3 of pedestrians were using a device while crossing the street. The analysis revealed that “A significant difference was found between mean gait characteristics of step velocity, cadence, double limb support, and mean step length during normal walking and walking while texting”. Long study short, these distracted pedestrians became an identifiably different type of pedestrian as they used their electronic devices.
Prevention of injuries and fatalities is the reason we design and implement walking infrastructure and traffic accommodation. These safety measures are designed to protect us as undistracted pedestrians, focused on walking, with our eyes generally directed forward. But, could any preventative measure be enough for the new generation of multitasking, tech-savvy, and extremely distracted pedestrians?
Being late is a terribly anxious feeling. If we are driving a vehicle while running late, this terrible feeling is only amplified. Every red light becomes a personal attack, every vehicle in front of us becomes an obstruction, and worst of all, there is almost no solution to the problem. Once someone has fallen behind schedule, that time has passed and can’t be brought back. This is how being late can provoke dangerous temptations. Some drivers will try speeding, quick maneuvering, rushing through intersections, and otherwise turning their vehicle into a Formula 1 racecar, all in the hopes of “saving time”. In this situation, sending a text message with warnings and excuses of your impending lateness can become a major temptation. When we see these reckless drivers on the roads, it’s obvious to the rest of us in traffic - “Wow, that person must be late!”. As we contemplate these pressures while driving in a rush, running late must be considered the most significant daily temptation to push our driving behaviors beyond the realm of safe.
So, what are the risks of driving with this rushed mindset? When it comes to distracted driving, most of us know that using a cell phone is unsafe. For about 11 years, there have been laws in Saskatchewan that carry some considerable punishments for doing so. Even with these well-known rules that have been proven to save many lives, “driver inattention and distraction is responsible for 21% of all collisions” – https://www.sgi.sk.ca/handbook/-/knowledge_base/drivers/distracted-driving. Speed also continues to be a major problem in Saskatchewan. Drivers, at times, claim that “being late” was their reason for driving above the speed limit. Being late is known to create anxiety, and an anxious person is one who will more likely resort to unsafe behaviors. There is a temptation to correct lateness by speeding, which multiplies the chances of a collision. It seems that no matter how aware a driver may be of these dangerous behaviors, the temptation to overcome a mistake, like leaving late, becomes too strong to ignore.
If we think about it, the simple truth is this: By the time our vehicle pulls out of a parking spot, the opportunity to “save time” with any significant effect is gone. So, let's rewind to the source of being late, to the original reason why one would become anxious, and otherwise tempted to engage in speeding, distracted driving, or a variety of other unsafe behaviours in the first place. Any journey starts by leaving the current destination. So, what can be done in preparation, before our journey begins, to ensure that we are ready to drive while staying distraction and anxiety free?
Community Stories from Community Voices with the New Saskatchewan Safety Council Content Team: A Modern Way for us to Work Together
As families and friends are finally able to spend a bit more quality time together, a sense of unification has filled the summer air with a fellowship that was sorely missed. Co-workers have been reunited in their workplaces, isolated individuals have returned to their families, and children are able to play together after what must have seemed like an eternity. Wedding vows are being recited, anniversaries are being celebrated, and grandparents are finally meeting their new grandchildren for the very first time.
By following our organization, you have indicated that the safety of those closest to you is a top priority. Today there is a vast, and often overwhelming, amount of information in constant competition for your attention. As this information battlefield plays out on our phones, computers, newspapers, and social media apps, it has become clear that your attention is a very valuable thing. We are honoured by your decision to share your attention with us.
The Council has always taken pride in listening to and responding as the needs of the community changes. Our newly formed content team will do just that, in a more modern and rapidly responsive way. We will listen to, learn from, and respond to the residents of this province, giving a voice to issues that matter most
“Our new Content Team will not be about the glamourization of traumatic events in an attempt to attract eyeballs. It will take the shape of an ongoing sustainable series of conversations that will prevent such events from happening in the first place. It won't be about talking at people and telling them what to do. Nor will it be about bubble-wrapping our youth,” said Robert Weitzel, Director of Development. “We will be asking questions that uncover answers that will lead to better hazard awareness. What we are doing will help people understand and manage the risky situations they encounter every day, regardless of where those happen. Not only will we continue to develop new resources and training tools based on these conversations, but we will also regularly post new video content, host live shows that will be simulcast to multiple social media platforms, facilitate call-in shows, and produce podcasts. Our audience will be the drivers of what we do next.”
“A Province of Safety Excellence” can only be achieved with you. We are excited to meet with community leaders, to continue work with Saskatchewan organizations, and to serve anyone who wishes to participate in the conversations. Our subscribers want to hear from you, so they can learn from you. Our eyes and ears are open. Join us as we explore Saskatchewan like never before.
Pictured here is Star, she was up for adoption when we were creating this safety content but has since been adopted and I am sure she is enjoying her new home with her family.
Our pets are a part of our family, and to some, they are our children. Remember to keep them safe and cool in the summer heat. Now that fall is here, we may not have to worry about the hot summer temperatures, but we do have to remember these tips for when summer comes around again. Lavina, Amanda, & Star
Lavina, Amanda, & Star
Safety content is being created each and every day. I want to say a huge thank you to our volunteers, our subscribers, our members, and our community champions for your help in creating, sharing, and helping us work towards a province of safety excellence in Saskatchewan!
If you would like to become a volunteer with us, please reach out, we would be overjoyed to work with you. You can send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Thanks for taking time to read the Blog. For now, we have to say good-bye to summer, and hello to fall! Stay tuned everyone, more safety content is on the way.
Driving through a school zone is more than simply slowing down to 30 km/h. It also requires a strong layer of attention and patience, which are most effective when they are working hand in hand. This gives drivers the ability to better react to a potentially sudden situation. A child can be injured just as severely by a car driving at 30 km/h as one moving at 50km/h however the reduced speed gives the driver much more control of the vehicle and the ability to pay more attention to the surroundings.
An excellent safe practice is to create a wider school zone area than that of the posted 30km/h signs. You don’t necessarily have to slow down (it would be great if you did) but widening the zone by a few blocks has many benefits. You mentally prepare yourself before entering the actual school zone instead of spending the first block paying your attention to slowing down. As well, children are walking to and from school much farther away than the school zone so you’re creating an even safer environment for them to walk in. This is especially important during the winter season.
Keep in mind the attention of a child can be very narrow. While they understand safety rules and procedures, such as looking both ways before crossing a street, they may not be able to see a potential problem as far ahead as an adult. Therefore, it is up to the driver to take up the responsibility and make sure we’re ready for anything that can happen in a school zone. Slow down, pay attention, and make safety the right choice.
School buses are a unique vehicle on the road. They make frequent stops, often in places that other vehicles don’t such as railway crossings. They have access to areas that we aren’t used to accounting for in normal traffic flow which can catch us by surprise. They also have a lot of lights and signs that can be confusing for other drivers to understand what exactly to do since there are different models of school buses and different laws that apply to them. If we aren’t prepared for all of the extra possible scenarios a school bus can present to us, then the chances of an incident increase.
The best way to start preparing yourself is to know the school bus laws. Each city, town and village has their own bylaws for school buses so if you move to a new area, check with City Hall for clarification. For Regina and Saskatoon, the use of flashing safety lights and bus stop arms are prohibited. While this seems odd, there are actually very good reasons for this. As Sgt. Koroluk from the Regina Police Service states:
Another way to adjust your driving during the school season is to leave 5-10 minutes earlier than normal for work for the first few weeks of September. This will give you that extra time to deal with increased traffic in school zones and to compensate if you have school buses in front of you that make frequent stops. If you find after those few weeks that there isn’t any interruption, then go ahead and take back those extra 10 minutes of sleep!
Not only will making this time adjustment make sure you get to work on time, it also ensures that you keep calm during your drive. If a school bus is holding you up and making you late for work, your stress level will increase. You might accelerate quickly around a bus or speed above the limit after the bus isn’t in front of you which greatly increases your chance of a traffic incident. Then you’ll be late for work and you potentially injure someone.
Take the time to plan for the increased traffic changes from school buses. Students, parents, and bus drivers will all appreciate you for it.
A popular practice for the police during the school year is to set up speed radars in school zones. It is a pretty sure bet that every school zone in your city or town will see a police setup within the first few weeks of the school year.
A vehicle takes a longer distance to stop even at slightly higher speeds. A simple concept, yes, but it’s more than you may know.
According to Forensic Dynamics Inc., here is the stopping distance for vehicles travelling at 40/50/60 km/h in ideal conditions:
40 km/h = 8.6 meters
50 km/h = 14.05 meters
60 km/h = 20.24 meters
These numbers, of course, can vary depending on the type of vehicle, tires, etc. however the point is that even from 40 to 50 km/h there is a significant difference in how long it takes your vehicle to stop.
It would be a true achievement if a school zone speed radar blitz issued zero tickets. That is the goal of the police service and it should be everyone else’s goal as well to make safety the right choice and not speed.
Tips to keep your stairs and stairways safe. Have tips you'd like to share? Comment below.
Knowing how to properly insert an earplug will pay off in the bedroom and in the workplace. The later leading to an increase in the possibility that you may actually be able to hear your grandchildren wish you a happy birthday.
The definition of “community” is a group of people living in the same place or having a characteristic in common and a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. Here at the Saskatchewan Safety Council, we are dedicated to the prevention of injury across our province, creating a province of safety excellence! Do we want everyone to make safety their number one priority? Yes, absolutely! With your help, we can spread the word and spread the action, prevent injury in Saskatchewan… at home, at play, and at work. Being out in the community, allows me to engage and interact with others, show the great work we are trying to accomplish and hear feedback on what is needed in the communities as well.
My name is Amanda LePine and I am the Community Relations Coordinator with the Saskatchewan Safety Council. Born and raised here in Regina, I’ve seen how the city has changed and how it has grown. I love our city, and am proud to be a city-girl from Regina, SK. Every day, I learn more about the places, people and cultures that are in the community. Interacting with people brings me such joy and being out in the community, learning new things, and building relationships is what excites me about future possibilities.
Lavina Wagner, our Content Specialist and I have been busy safety bees the last couple of months- making connections, taking video footage and pictures for our content that we are working hard to create. We are creating informative safety videos for the simple tasks that you may do every day, but are we doing the task safely? Riding a bike, wearing a helmet, and using your stair case at home, are you holding the railing when going up or down? Do you have a railing installed? Tips and tricks on how to be cautious in your bathroom, living room, laundry room and outside of your home, having tools and checklists in place will allow you to be prepared for a potential hazard, and to realize something you do every single day may not be the safest way to complete the task at hand.
That’s what Darlene helped us with, doing what she does every day on video: laundry, walking up and down the stairs, making a cup of coffee, folding towels, simple tasks that will help us build our content for our informational videos! Lavina and I arranged a meeting with a roofing professional named David who has been roofing since he was 17 years old. He allowed us take footage of him preparing for a roofing job, showed us how to safely wear and assemble a harness. Are you safe for the job and using
Adventuring out into the community we made connections with the Regina Senior Centre on Winnipeg Street. We were fortunate to attend one of their afternoons of dance, three hours of polka, line dancing and meeting those who took time out of their day to attend this amazing event (which is open to all ages by the way!).
Lavina and I boogied to the music and bless miss Gladys’ heart who tried to teach me to line dance, but I have two left feet (which I inherited from my mother, thanks mom!). Then we joined the fellas in the Pool Room and got to chat with those who have been going to the center for years. To play, they purchase tickets or become members with the center, but when you hit the age of 90, you play for free!
Mr. Abel was celebrating his 91st birthday on April 17, 2019. We got to sing him happy birthday and enjoy some delicious cake! Gabe, an 88-year-old member has been coming to the center for years. You can find him in the Pool Room every Wednesday and Friday enjoying a good game of pool with great people, staying active and having fun while doing so.
I look forward to meeting and interacting with others in our community. We want to share your story, share your ideas, and the work we have done… together. In the meantime, don’t be a stranger, you can connect with me at any time, we are all part of this community.
Did you know our province spends millions treating injuries associated with home falls? Taking the time to ensure your loved ones are as safe as possible at home could save you more than just money.
The most common reason for permanent and total disability is falls. There have been years in which falls have cost the province of Saskatchewan over 300 million dollars. Residential falls in 2010 cost the province 153 million. The most common reason for injury around the home is a slip, trip, or fall. Find fall prevention resources here.