Important safety reminders for Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month (November)

Haldimand County Emergency Services has issued some important safety reminders for residents ahead of Carbon Monoxide Awareness month. Carbon Monoxide is known as the silent killer because it is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas.

November was declared Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month in 2013 following the passing of the Hawkins Gignac Act. The Hawkins Gignac Act is named in honour of the Hawkins family — Laurie, Richard, and their children, Cassandra and Jordan — who were tragically killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in their Woodstock home. The tragic outcome of carbon monoxide poisoning was felt locally – in Cayuga – after 12 year old Nolan Young passed away due to CO poisoning. Since his death, the Young family has tirelessly worked to spread awareness of this silent killer.

“Carbon monoxide is a real risk because you can’t see it or smell it or taste it. The only way to mitigate tragedy and protect your family is to have functioning carbon monoxide alarms in your household,” said Richard Geerdink, Fire Prevention Officer for Haldimand County. “If your home uses fuel-burning appliances like natural gas, propane, wood or oil, you need to have a carbon monoxide alarm outside of all sleeping areas and it’s recommended to have a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home,” he continued.

Residents with attached garages are required to have alarms installed as well.  Appliances that are rarely used over the summer months may develop leaks or blockages and cause carbon monoxide to accumulate inside the home. “It’s so important to have appliances and fireplaces inspected by a professional when the colder temperatures begin,” Geerdink stated.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic flu symptoms – headache, feeling nauseous, dizziness and weakness.

Residents who are unsure of where or how to install a carbon monoxide alarm are encouraged to contact Haldimand’s Fire Prevention Bureau for assistance. Residents who are unable to afford a carbon monoxide alarm may also contact the Fire Prevention Bureau as assistance is available.

New Haldimand County Ambulances Debut Blue Emergency Lights

Two new ambulances will be added to Haldimand County’s emergency vehicle fleet next month. These ambulances will be equipped with forward and rear facing blue lights – instead of the usual white lights – in an effort to increase first responder visibility and improve safety during emergency responses.

“Using a combination of flashing red and blue lights will help get the attention of drivers and keep emergency responders safer,” said Jason Gallagher, Haldimand County’s Fire Chief and Manager of Emergency Medical Services. “Blue lights tend to stand out and are more visible than red or yellow in daylight,” he added.

The placement of blue lights on Haldimand County’s new ambulances are the result of an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act in July 2018, which allows ambulances and fire trucks to use flashing red or blue lights. Previously, only police were allowed to use blue lights.

Gallagher is also reminding residents how to react on the road when an emergency vehicle approaches with a simple phrase: move to the right for sirens and lights. At an intersection, stop sign or traffic light, drivers should stay put if they cannot pull to the right.

First Public Education Meeting Set For Lake Erie Shoreline Hazard Mapping And Risk Assessment Study

Haldimand County, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), Long Point Region Conservation Authority (LPRCA) and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) have initiated a study to update the Lake Erie shoreline flood, erosion and dynamic beach hazard mapping.

Two Public Education Centres (PEC) will be held to help keep community members informed of the project, with the first scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 15, 2018 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Selkirk Centennial Community Centre.

The PEC will follow an open house format. There will be no formal presentations; however, the session will provide an opportunity for landowners and members of the public to learn more about the project, how to protect their property from flooding and erosion, as well as contribute their knowledge of local conditions. County and Conservation Authority staff will be available to answer questions and all members of the public interested in the project are welcome to attend.

This is a technical study to update hazard mapping. Updates to conservation authority shoreline management plans or policies, Haldimand County’s Emergency Response Plan and Official Plan are outside the scope of this project.

The PECs for this project will meet the requirements for public consultation for any resulting amendments to regulated area mapping of Ontario Regulations 150/06, 155/06 and 178/06 made under the Conservation Authorities Act.

Consistent hazard mapping across conservation authority jurisdictions is required to support land use planning and permitting decisions in at-risk communities and flood and erosion-related response and mitigation planning. Current shoreline hazard mapping for the County within LPRCA and GRCA jurisdictions was prepared in the late 1980s – early 1990s, while the mapping within the NPCA jurisdiction was updated in 2010.

The project will also update municipal risk assessment information for shoreline flooding, including inventorying at-risk infrastructure and estimating damage potential. It is anticipated the project will be completed by early 2020.

Speed Warning Sign Pilot Program Commences, New Equipment Deployed

On Tuesday, August 28, Mayor Ken Hewitt, Haldimand County Council and Police Services Board members met with local OPP Detachment staff to unveil newly-purchased speed monitoring equipment. The new equipment – including pole-mounted speed warning signs (12), Speed Spy data collectors (3) and a trailer-mounted, portable speed warning sign (1) – will be deployed in the coming weeks.

With input from the Haldimand Police Services Board, Council approved the purchase of this new speed monitoring equipment during the 2018 Capital Budget deliberations with an estimated expenditure of $112,000. The devices will be deployed as part of a community safety pilot program, initiated by Council in response to vehicle speeding concerns expressed by residents. The deployment plan for the new equipment was generated collaboratively with input from Ward Councillors, the Police Services Board and members of the Haldimand County OPP detachment.

Two pole-mounted speed warning signs will be installed in each of the County’s six Wards as part of the pilot project, while the Speed Spy data collectors will be deployed by the OPP based on complaints received and areas of concern. Data collected from the Speed Spy units will be analyzed by the OPP with the reports subsequently posted to the Haldimand County website. The trailer-mounted, portable speed warning sign will be relocated periodically to enhance the travelling public’s awareness of speeding.
“This is a good step forward in addressing longstanding safety concerns of Council and residents. Keeping our roads safe for community members and visitors is imperative,” said Mayor Ken Hewitt.

Belinda Rose, Staff Sergeant of Haldimand County’s OPP Detachment echoed Mayor Hewitt’s comments. “Haldimand County OPP remain committed to protecting both motorists and pedestrians. This proactive approach is a positive step towards enhanced public safety,” Rose stated.
Staff Sergeant Rose also reiterated the consequences motorists may face if they are caught speeding. Under Section 128 of The Highway Traffic Act, the following penalties may be applied:

> 20 km/hr above posted speed limit – fines start at $95.00 + 3 demerit points
> 30 km/hr above posted speed limit – fines start at $220.00 + 4 demerit points
> 40 km/hr above posted speed limit – fines start at $295.00 + 4 demerit points
> 50 km/hr above posted speed limit – automatic drivers license suspension and vehicle impoundment

Information regarding the effectiveness of the speed warning sign pilot program will be brought forward to the Haldimand Police Services Board and Council in 2019.

For further information, please contact Karen General, General Manager of Corporate Services, at 905-318-5932 ext. 6321.