COLUMN: Lyle Karasiuk — July 31, 2014

Lyle Karasiuk
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The August long weekend is upon us; wow, the summer sure has flown right on by. While we’ve had a slow start to the hot humid weather, the last few days and even weeks have made up for a crappy winter. But as you head to the lake, visit friends or family or just get some long overdue yard work done, take care and know that in a few weeks summer fun will be all over.

Whether at the beach, on the water or enjoying the Prince Albert Exhibition, hot summer days can cause more harm than good. Remember the basics a hat, plenty of sun screen, drink plenty of water and stay cool. Find some shade or a nice air conditioned space to take a break now and then.

Watch for signs of heat emergency such as dizziness, headaches, confusion, unexplained nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps. If a cool rest doesn’t improve the person’s health than seek medical attention. If you come upon a friend, neighbor or family member who, after days of hea,t is unconscious with hot/dry flushed skin call paramedics immediately as you have a very serious emergency.

Summer is the season for a wide variety of wacky weather situations. From floods to hail, tornados to lighting, we’ve had a few dramatic storms across the province this summer already. Take precautions when see the potential for severe weather. Stay connected to media reports that can warn you of a potentially dangerous storm.

When severe weather does occur standing on the deck is not the safest place to be nor is under a tree on the golf course or out on the lake fishing. Know the risks and be prepared. When there is a threat of high winds, as in the case of a severe thunderstorm or tornado, your first priority is to take shelter. If it is safe to do so, bring livestock and/or pets indoors, close all windows and doors, and secure loose outdoor objects or move them inside.

Go to the basement or to a small interior room in the center of the house, such as a closet, bathroom or hallway, on the lowest floor of the building. If this is not an option, take cover under a stairway or sturdy table and use a cushion or mattress to protect your head.

Stay away from all windows, doors and exterior walls, in particular those facing the storm, and avoid buildings with large, unsupported roofs such as arenas, supermarkets, and barns. If you are boating or swimming, head for land immediately.

Do not travel. If you are in your car, open the windows slightly and park off the road with your brakes set, away from tall objects and power lines. Do not leave your car if there are downed lines nearby.

In the event of a tornado, abandon your vehicle and move at a right angle to the storm’s path. If this is not possible, find a low-lying area, such as a ditch, and lie flat. Hang onto a small tree or shrub if you can.

With some notice you can protect yourself and your family. Keep an eye to the sky this summer. Should a storm strike and when safe to do so, take stock of the situation. Be prepared for down power lines and associated power failures.

Preparing your emergency kit with flashlights, snacks, essential items like water can become very important. Take the time to prepare before the emergency visit for more information. Have a safe August long weekend!

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