Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation
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MEMORANDUM Spring Safety Around Waterways
Posted: Apr 18, 2019

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Date:    Thursday, April 18, 2019

To:        Sagamok Community

From:   Bruce Southwind, Fire Chief



The Sagamok Fire Department is reminding community residents of the dangers that exist near bodies of water—especially at this time of year—and urges people to keep family and pets away from the edges of waterways. 


We are blessed in Sagamok with the clean water we have to drink and the living waters of the Spanish River watershed, big waters of the North Channel and dozens of interior lakes, swamps, rivers, creeks and floodplains.  Water is life. 


Water is a force of nature and at times, poses dangers to us and our community.  Springtime is of particular concern.  Most of us are looking forward to the warm spring temperatures, but this nice weather also brings rain, melting snow and shifting ice—all of which contribute to higher, faster-flowing water in watercourses. 


Use caution around waterways this spring by following these safe spring water practices:


· Keep family and pets away from the edges of all bodies of water.  Banks can be slippery and unstable making it easy to fall in.  Hypothermia is a very real danger. 

· Avoid all recreational activities in or around water, especially near ice jams or ice-covered watercourses.

· Do not attempt to drive or walk through flooded roads or fast-moving water.

· If you live close to the water, move objects such as chairs or benches away from the water’s edge to avoid losing them during potential spring high water.

· Remember: You can’t tell how safe ice is just by looking at it.  You also can’t always tell how fast or with what force water is flowing in a stream, river or other water body. 


Share with your children these life-saving tips in case they fall in open water: 


Explain to your child that there if they fall into water, there is a good chance there will be nobody around to help them.  Tell 

them to never play alone and that it’s best to avoid all water in the springtime.  They are at risk not only of drowning, but of hypothermia, that can cause their body’s functions to slow or shut down causing death. 


If they fall in, tell your children not to panic and to call for help as loudly and clearly as they can. 


Tell your children that if there is nobody around to help, then they are going to have to get themselves out.  To get out, a person in water needs to float on their stomach (not on their back).  It is important to reach forward on to the ice, kicking your legs to slowly push yourself onto the ice without pushing down onto the ice with your hands. 


Once out of the water, explain to your children that they must crawl on their stomachs or their bodies away from the open area of water with their arms and legs spread out as much as possible to evenly distribute their body weight.  Tell them that they can’t stand up because it will concentrate all of their body weight on one spot causing them to fall through again.  Tell them to look for the shore and crawl their way towards it and once they get to shore, to seek medical help immediately. 


Share with your children these life-saving tips in case they are with someone who has fallen through the ice:


Tell your children that they should never try to save someone who has fallen through the ice on their own and that they should always run to get an adult for help right away. 


Tell your children to stay calm and think smart if they are with a friend or come across someone else who has fallen through the ice.   Where is the nearest adult who can help you?  Is there a road nearby where you can wave down a car?  Is your home or another home nearby that you can get an adult to help?  Is there a phone nearby where you can call 9-1-1?  These are all options to get help.  Remind them again and again to never try to rescue someone on their own.  We don’t want them to become victims as well. 


For all emergencies, dial 9-1-1




PO Box 610    Massey, ON     P0P 1P0

(705) 865-2421       1 (800) 567-2896





a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing dangerously low body temperatures (falling below 95F or 35C). 


SYMPTOMS of Hypothermia


Slurred speech or mumbling

Slow, shallow breathing

Weak pulse

Clumsiness, lack of coordination

Drowsiness or very low energy

Confusion or memory loss

Loss of consciousness

Bright red, cold skin (in infants)


Hypothermia FIRST AID


Be gentle.  When you're helping a person with hypothermia, handle him or her gently. Limit movements to only those that are necessary. Don't massage or rub the person. Excessive, vigorous or jarring movements may trigger cardiac arrest.


Move the person out of the cold.  Move the person to a warm, dry location if possible. If you're unable to move the person out of the cold, shield him or her from the cold and wind as much as possible. Keep him or her in a horizontal position if possible.


Remove wet clothing.  If the person is wearing wet clothing, remove it. Cut away clothing if necessary to avoid excessive movement.


Cover the person with blankets.  Use layers of dry blankets or coats to warm the person. Cover the person's head, leaving only the face exposed.


Insulate the person's body from the cold ground.  If you're outside, lay the person on his or her back on a blanket or other warm surface.


Monitor breathing.  A person with severe hypothermia may appear unconscious, with no apparent signs of a pulse or breathing. If the person's breathing has stopped or appears dangerously low or shallow, begin CPR immediately.


Provide warm beverages.  If the affected person is alert and able to swallow, provide a warm, sweet, nonalcoholic, noncaffeinated beverage to help warm the body.


Use warm, dry compresses.  Use a first-aid warm compress (a plastic fluid-filled bag that warms up when squeezed) or a makeshift compress of warm water in a plastic bottle or a dryer-warmed towel. Apply a compress only to the neck, chest wall or groin.  Don't apply a warm compress to the arms or legs. Heat applied to the arms and legs forces cold blood back toward the heart, lungs and brain, causing the core body temperature to drop. This can be fatal.  Don't apply direct heat. Don't use hot water, a heating pad or a heating lamp to warm the person. The extreme heat can damage the skin or, even worse, cause irregular heartbeats so severe that they can cause the heart to stop.