Haldimand County Emergency Services Reminds Residents To Stay Off Partially Frozen Waterways

Haldimand County Emergency Services is reminding the public to be extremely cautious around partially frozen waterways. Due to recent mild temperatures, venturing out onto ice for recreational activities is not safe and strongly discouraged.

“In Haldimand County we are lucky to be so close to Lake Erie, the Grand River, and an abundance of ponds, streams and tributaries that fulfill many recreational pursuits. Ice activities like skating and fishing can be enjoyed when conditions are favorable, but there will always be a level of risk,” said Jason Gallagher, Manager of Emergency Services and Fire Chief. “By venturing out right now, you’d be putting your safety and the safety of others in jeopardy,” Gallagher added.

According to safety agencies like the Red Cross, ice should be at least 20cm thick for a person to walk or skate on. There is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice, however, precautions can be taken to reduce the risks. Understanding ice colour, location, weather and what to do in an emergency can help prevent tragedy.

Color and Depth

The colour of ice may be an indication of its strength − clear blue to black ice is strongest, and likely the deepest. You should only skate on ice that is 20+ cm thick. White opaque or snow ice should be avoided. Grey ice indicates the presence of water and is unsafe to stand on.

Location

Ice thickness is never consistent. The weakest ice will be in the center and along the edge of the water. Avoid streams and flowing water, even if they look frozen. Avoid ice that has recently frozen, thawed, and then frozen again.

Weather

Swings above zero can compromise the integrity of ice by melting existing ice or changing the water level, leaving unsafe spots in both the centre and shoreline of a water body.

Before going out on ice, you should always check ice conditions, be prepared for a worst-case scenario and have an emergency plan in place. Remember to abide by public health guidelines and practice social distancing when enjoying outdoor areas. For more information about ice safety, visit HaldimandCounty.ca/emergency-preparedness or RedCross.ca.

Haldimand County Emergency Services reports increase in motor vehicle-farm equipment collisions

Haldimand County Emergency Services has seen an increase in collisions involving motor vehicles and slow-moving farm equipment.

Fire Chief / EMS Manager Jason Gallagher is urging motorists to stay alert, slow down and share the road with farm equipment. Gallagher is also and reminding farm equipment operators to ensure their equipment has proper lighting and a reflective slow-moving vehicle emblem.

“Although we’re past peak harvest season, there are still farming operations underway throughout the County and slow-moving farm equipment on our roads. We’ve seen an increase in collisions that could have been prevented, and ask that everyone utilizing County roads do their part to keep them safe,” said Gallagher.

Both motorists and farm equipment operators have been found to be at fault in recent collisions.

Roadway safety for motorists

  • Stay alert for slow-moving farm equipment, especially at dawn or dusk when visibility is reduced;
  • Slow down and be patient when approaching slow-moving machinery from behind;
  • Wait to pass until you have a clear view of the road ahead and there is no oncoming traffic;
  • Never pass on a hill or curve.

Roadway safety for farm equipment operators

  • Make sure any farm equipment being driven on roadways is properly marked with lights and a “slow-moving vehicle” emblem;
  • Drive as far to the right as possible;
  • If traffic accumulates behind you on a road where it is difficult to make a safe pass, you should pull off onto the side of the road in a level area, so the vehicles can pass;
  • If possible, avoid traveling on roadways at dawn or dusk when it is more difficult for drivers of other vehicles to see;
  • Always use a seat belt when operating a tractor equipped with a roll-over protection structure.

Haldimand County Seeking Resident Input On Urban And Rural Speed Limits

Haldimand County is seeking input on proposed changes to current speed limits in all urban neighbourhoods and select rural areas. An online survey has been developed to collect resident feedback, results of which will be considered by staff and Council.

The first proposal is to reduce the speed limit to 40 km/h (from the standard 50 km/h) in all urban neighborhoods, including the smaller hamlets and villages such as Selkirk, Fisherville and York.

The second proposal is to lower the speed limit to 40 km/h in some rural areas, in particular South Coast Drive, Lakeshore Road and North Shore Drive along the lakeshore.

The primary objective of these proposed changes is to reduce vehicle speed and thereby increase road safety in areas with higher pedestrian/cyclist traffic.

A link to the online survey can be found on the main page of HaldimandCounty.ca; the survey may also be accessed directly via www.surveymonkey.com/r/HCspeedsurvey.

Residents are encouraged to take the survey and submit comments by November 8, 2020. To request paper copies of the survey, visit the Haldimand County Administration Building or contact the County’s Engineering division by e-mail engineering@haldimandcounty.on.ca or phone: 905-318-5932 ext. 6404.

High Winds And Waves May Cause Erosion, Minor Flooding In Low-Lying Areas Along The Lakeshore Wednesday

A Watershed/Shoreline Conditions Statement is in effect for much of the Lake Erie shoreline. With high winds and waves in the forecast, Haldimand County Emergency Services is urging residents to stay away from shoreline areas. These weather conditions may cause erosion and minor flooding in low-lying areas along the lake. The Port Maitland Pier is also being closed due to high water levels.

Current forecasts are calling for sustained westerly to southwesterly winds of 40 to 50 km/hr. with gusts approaching 70 km/hr. These winds will increase water levels and waves along the Lake Erie Shoreline.

Significant wave heights of 1.5m (5 feet) are forecast to occur all along the Lake Erie shoreline. Water levels are starting to build, and peak water levels will occur late afternoon today with the potential for another peak late this evening.

People are urged to use caution or stay away from Lake Erie shoreline areas experiencing strong wave action and elevated water levels. Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from these areas.

Haldimand County Emergency Services and Roads crews will be actively monitoring conditions along the lake and are prepared to respond if needed.

A flood guide for lakeshore property owners can be found at HaldimandCounty.ca/floods.

 

Haldimand County Fire Department Issues Important Cooking Safety Reminders Ahead Of Fire Prevention Week (Oct 4-10)

With Fire Prevention Week just around the corner, Haldimand County Fire Department is reminding residents of simple steps that can be taken to prevent kitchen fires. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, which runs from October 4-10, is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!™”

The theme is very timely as cooking fires continue to be the leading cause of home fires in Ontario.

Simple steps to serve up fire safety in the kitchen include:

  • Always stay in the kitchen when cooking and turn off the stove if you must leave the kitchen.
  • Keep a proper fitting lid near the stove. If a pot of oil catches fire, slide the lid over the pot and turn off the stove. Do not move the pot. Never throw water on a burning pot.
  • Keep anything that burns – plastic utensils, dishcloths, paper towels – a safe distance from the stove.
  • Cook responsibly. To prevent cooking fires, you must be alert. You will not be alert if you have consumed alcohol or drugs.
  • Wear tight-fitting or rolled up sleeves when using the stove. Loose, dangling clothing can easily catch fire.
  • Keep young kids one metre away from the stove. Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge so they can’t be easily knocked off.
  • If you burn yourself while cooking, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes. If the burn is severe, seek medical attention.

“As the weather cools and we start spending more time indoors, fire safety top should be top of mind, especially when cooking,” said Fire Chief Jason Gallagher. “Often when we’re called to a fire that started in the kitchen, residents tell us they only stepped away for a few minutes, but that’s all it takes for a dangerous fire to start,” Gallagher noted.

In addition to practicing fire safety in the kitchen, Gallagher urges all residents to test their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and ensure there is one working device on each floor of the home, as well as outside of all sleeping areas. Families are also encouraged to develop a home fire escape plan if they don’t have one already.

Residents with questions about fire prevention are encouraged to make use of the resources available on the County website or contact the County’s Fire Prevention Bureau at 905-318-5932.

Red Cross Babysitting Course Returns to Haldimand County Public Library

Haldimand County youth aged 11 to 15 can now complete the Red Cross Babysitting Course at the Caledonia, Cayuga and Dunnville Library Branches. This nationally recognized program is designed to help participants develop self-assurance, knowledge and skills required not only for babysitting duties, but also when at home. Topics covered in the course include caring for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children as well as creating safe environments and how to handle emergencies.

Revised to ensure participant safety, the Red Cross Babysitting Course will now run for 5 consecutive days after school. Participants will be required to attend all 5 days to receive their certificate. The number of participants has been reduced to ensure social distancing is maintained throughout the program. Masks must be worn by all participants.

The course cost is $40 per person and registration must be completed in person at the Caledonia, Cayuga and Dunnville Library branches.

The course dates, times and locations are as follows:

HCPL Caledonia Branch

Monday October 19-Friday October 23
4:00pm – 5:15pm

HCPL Cayuga Branch

Monday October 26 – Friday October 30
3:30pm – 4:45pm

HCPL Dunnville Branch

Monday November 2- Friday November 6
3:30pm – 4:45pm

For more information on the Red Cross Babysitting Course or other library programs, please contact Katrina Krupicz, Community Outreach/Inreach Coordinator.

More information about library services can be found at www.haldimandlibrary.com as well as the library’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Statement from the Haldimand County Police Services Board RE: Caledonia protests

On Wednesday, August 26, the Haldimand County Police Services Board (PSB) met to discuss the ongoing issue of illegal protests in Caledonia, related policing concerns and the significant impacts these incidents are having on the broader community.

The PSB recognizes that legally, its role is not to direct police operations. Rather, the PSB’s role is to serve as a conduit to the wider community and provide an avenue for communication between community members and the OPP. It is also the PSB’s responsibility to establish priorities, objectives and policies regarding policing in Haldimand County, in consultation with the Detachment Commander and Haldimand County Council.

At the August 26 meeting, PSB members expressed concerns to OPP Detachment staff regarding the adequacy and effectiveness of the OPP’s response to the illegal occupation at McKenzie Meadows and related occupations of municipal roadways, provincial highways and CN railway corridor. It is imperative that policing concerns related to illegal protests are addressed in a timely manner and even more critical that the OPP uphold the rule of law and maintain peace, order and stability within Haldimand County.

The PSB also recognizes that actions taken by the OPP in response to the McKenzie Meadows occupation and related blockades are the result of decisions made not at the local detachment level, but higher up in the OPP’s chain of command. As such, the PSB has forwarded its concerns to the Ministry of the Solicitor General and senior OPP officials. Further, the PSB has requested that individuals involved in the decision-making attend an upcoming PSB meeting to discuss the community’s significant safety concerns.

The PSB remains committed to acting as the ‘voice’ of Haldimand County residents on matters of policing and will continue to advocate for the community with OPP decision-makers and senior levels of government.

The PSB will keep the community apprised of any developments related to policing services in Haldimand County, as well as the outcome of the requested meeting with senior OPP officials and representatives from the Ministry of the Solicitor General.

Haldimand County Police Services Board

Bernie Corbett (Board Chair) – Haldimand County Council Member

Dan Lawrence – Haldimand County Council Council Member

Brian Haggith (Vice Chair) – Community Member

Kerry Boon – Provincial Member

 

Haldimand County Fire Department Issues Safety Reminders For Farmers & Motorists Ahead of Harvest Season

As peak harvest season approaches, Haldimand County Fire Department is reminding farmers and rural property owners of important fire safety precautions. Additionally, the Department is urging the public to stay alert for slow-moving farm equipment on public roadways, slow down and share the road.

Fire safety during harvest season

Tractors and equipment have many moving parts that generate heat. The combination of heat, freshly cut fields and extremely dry conditions can be a dangerous mix. Farmers are encouraged to take a proactive approach to mitigate the risk of field fires, which includes having a water supply close by and equipment for tillage readily available.

Roadway safety for motorists

Farming plays a vital role in Haldimand’s economy, history and identity and in the coming weeks, motorists can expect to see an increase in farm equipment on public roadways. Motorists are asked to:

  • Stay alert for slow-moving farm equipment, especially at dawn or dusk when visibility is reduced;
  • Slow down and be patient when approaching slow-moving machinery from behind;
  • Wait to pass until you have a clear view of the road ahead and there is no oncoming traffic;
  • Never pass on a hill or curve.

Roadway safety for farmers

  • Make sure any farm equipment being driven on roadways is properly marked with lights and a “slow-moving vehicle” emblem;
  • Drive as far to the right as possible;
  • If traffic accumulates behind you on a road where it is difficult to make a safe pass, you should pull off onto the side of the road in a level area, so the vehicles can pass.
  • If possible, avoid traveling on roadways at dawn or dusk when it is more difficult for drivers of other vehicles to see.
  • Always use a seat belt when operating a tractor equipped with a roll-over protection structure.

Update on temporary burn permits from Haldimand County Fire Department

At the onset of the COVID-19 emergency, Haldimand County developed an interim process for rural landowners to obtain temporary burn permits. As Haldimand County gradually re-opens, the Fire Department is advising residents of the following:

  • No-cost, temporary, non-recreational burn permits will continue to be offered until July 10, 2020. To obtain a permit, residents must call the Fire Department at 905-318-5932 ext. 6230 or 6224 to set up an appointment and arrange for pickup.
  • All temporary burn permits issued will remain valid until August 31, 2020. After August 31 anyone who does not currently have a valid permit will be required to purchase one, including temporary permit holders as they will no longer be valid.
  • As of September 1, 2020, burn permits will be offered as they were prior to the pandemic – in-person at the Haldimand County Administration Building.

Anyone who conducts a non-recreational burn between July 10 and August 31 and does not have a permit can be charged under the open-air burning by-law.

Interim burn permits are only available at the Emergency Services Headquarters at 11 Thorburn St, S (Cayuga) with a prior phone call completed and an appointment time scheduled. Due to COVID-19 public health requirements, no walk-ins will be allowed without a pre-arranged appointment.

The Haldimand County Fire Department encourages all residents to practice fire safety, comply with the open-air burn by-law, be aware of risks and have protection measures in place when conducting an open-air fire. Many resources are available on the Fire Prevention page of HaldimandCounty.ca, including activity books for children.

Haldimand County Fire Department Urges Residents To Follow Open-Air Burn By-Laws Following Increase In Complaints/Violations

Haldimand County Fire Department is urging the public to practice fire safety and comply with the municipal open air burning by-law following an increase in calls and complaints about unsafe fires.

“As Haldimand County moves into Stage 2 of Ontario’s re-opening plan, there are more opportunities to gather and enjoy recreational pursuits outdoors. Campfires are a quintessential part of summer for many, but it’s crucial that they comply with the Open Air Burning By-Law,” said Jason Gallagher, Manager of Emergency Services and Fire Chief. “COVID-19 has placed added pressure on emergency services and we need the public’s cooperation to prevent these avoidable fire calls,” he added.

Recreational fires (e.g. campfires) are allowed in all areas without a permit as long as the fire meets all of the regulations set out in the Open Air Burn By-law. These regulations include, but are not limited to: ensuring the fire is contained and supervised at all times and that it is set back at least 10 meters from combustible buildings/structures. A means of extinguishing the fire must be available and measures must be in place to ensure that no one is adversely affected by the products of combustion (smoke and odours).

Non-recreational fires are only permitted in certain areas of the County and require a burn permit. Currently, interim burn permits are available for rural residents at no cost and may be obtained by contacting the Haldimand County Fire Department (905-318-5932). Interim burn permits are available by appointment only, as all County facilities are temporarily closed to the public.

Open air fires that are not conducted according to the by-law present potential safety hazards. Anyone conducting an open air fire that violates the by-law are subject to fines, provincial prosecution and recovery of costs required to respond to and/or extinguish the fire.

Anyone with questions about fire safety or the open-air burning by-law is encouraged to contact the Haldimand County Fire Department at 905-318-5932. A number of helpful resources, including a Safe Fire Guide, is available at HaldimandCounty.ca.

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