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STARS News Release

Reduce risks from summer recreational activities

May 17, 2011

Public Service Announcement

Alberta, May 17, 2011 – STARS and the Lifesaving Society are partnering in an effort to reduce preventable critical injuries, medical emergencies and death due to summer related recreational activities. The following are helpful tips to staying safe and accident free this summer season:

STARS and the Lifesaving Society are partnering in an effort to reduce preventable critical injuries, medical emergencies and death due to summer related recreational activities. The following are helpful tips to staying safe and accident free this summer season:

  • Wear safety gear, especially a helmet when engaged in activities that have a risk of head injury, and insist that everyone wear lifejackets when in a boat.
  • Do not operate motorized all-terrain vehicles (ATV) or go boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (including prescription drugs that may cause impairment).
  • Ensure you have the proper training and education to operate ATVs or powerboats before using them.
  • When in remote areas, or on lakes and rivers, inform someone about your location and anticipated departure and arrival times.
  • Actively supervise children and stay within arm's reach of small children when they are in, on or around water.
  • Drive the speed limit while on roadways, and drive powerboats and ATVs responsibly by adjusting your speed to suit the situation and conditions.
  • Learn basic swim survival skills and know how to stay calm during an unexpected fall into water.

Background

In 2010 STARS responded to more than 150 serious recreational activity related emergencies:

  • 61 All-terrain vehicle emergencies (50 quads and 11 dirt bikes)
  • 30 Motorcycle emergencies
  • 27 Horseback riding emergencies
  • 26 General recreational activities (hiking, sports, bicycling, etc.)
  • 9 Water-related emergencies

This data does not include responses where STARS was stood down en route to an emergency because a patient died before the helicopter arrived on scene.

During the summer of 2008, 10 individuals drowned in Alberta lakes or rivers (70% boating, 20% swimming and 10% falling into water).

Of those that were involved in boating incidents all where men, none of the victims were wearing a lifejacket.

Half (48%) of all drownings in 2009 (29 people) in Alberta occurred during the summer months (May – August).

Alcohol was considered a factor in one quarter of these drowning.

The Lifesaving Society – Canada's lifeguarding expert – is a national charitable organization working to prevent drowning and water-related injury through its training programs, Water Smart® public education, water-incident research, safety management services and lifesaving sport. Annually, more than 700,000 Canadians participate in the Society's swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard and leadership training courses. For more information, visit www.lifesaving.org.

STARS is a charitable, non-profit organization that has carried out more than 20,500 missions in Alberta and eastern British Columbia since it began in 1985. STARS currently provides service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from bases in Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie.

For more information:

Cam Heke
Manager, Media & Public Relations/
External Affairs and Communications
STARS
1441 Aviation Park NE, Box 570
Calgary, AB T2E 8M7
Media Line: 1.866.966.8277
Phone: 403.295.1811
Email: cheke@stars.ca
www.stars.ca
www.twitter.com/STARSambulance
www.facebook.com/starsairambulance

Sue Sherman
Communication Director
Lifesaving Society Alberta & Northwest Territories
Tel: 780.415.1755 / Fax: 780.427.9334
E-mail: sues@lifesaving.org
Web: www.lifesaving.org
Setting the standard for lifeguarding in Canada for over 45 years!