Winter safety starts with you

Tips on how to stay safe in the cold, at home and on the roads

We are well into winter and it is a good time to review basic safety tips that can help you and your family stay safe during the cold winter months. If you are headed outdoors or on the road, you will want to pay close attention to the weather to ensure you are prepared for the temperature and weather conditions. Halton Region issues cold warnings when the temperature drops below -15 degrees Celsius (without wind-chill), or when weather conditions are severe enough to warrant alerting the community to the risks involved with prolonged exposure.

Anyone can be affected by extreme cold-related weather conditions, depending on how long one is exposed to cold conditions and exertion levels. Those especially at risk include: adults over the age of 65, infants and young children, people who work outdoors, people who exercise outdoors (hikers, skiers) and people who have limited resources to house or protect themselves. During extreme cold, call or visit friends and neighbours who may be at risk and keep pets inside.

Protect your health

  • Plan ahead and check the weather forecast.
  • Cover exposed skin using multiple layers of loose-fitting clothes with a wind-resistant outer layer, a hat, mittens, and scarf.
  • Dress appropriately when going outside. Frostbite can occur within minutes.
  • Always be on the lookout for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Prepare emergency kits for your home and car.
  • Sign up for automatic cold warnings.

For more information on cold warnings and what you can do to protect your health, visit halton.ca/cold.

Protect your home

Every winter, some Halton residents experience water outages or frozen water pipes, service lines or meters. To reduce this risk during cold temperatures:

  • remember to shut off and drain pipes leading to outside faucets;
  • ensure doorways to basement areas and crawl spaces with water meter and plumbing are opened enough to ensure the temperature in these areas remains warm;
  • do not set your household temperature too low at night or when the house is vacant; and
  • wrap foam pipe insulation around pipes most susceptible to freezing (e.g., near outside walls, under kitchen and bathroom cabinets, in crawl spaces and attics).

For more tips on avoiding frozen water pipes, visit halton.ca/frozenpipes.

Protect yourself on the roads

Plan ahead for winter driving to ensure your trip is a safe one.

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, mirrors and roof and make sure that you have plenty of windshield washer fluid and that it is rated to -40oC or lower.
  • Plan your route ahead of time. Let someone know of your destination and expected time of arrival. Bring a map and be prepared to take an alternate route.
  • Always keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Bring a cell phone.
  • Use winter tires.
  • Make sure there is enough space between you and other cars.
  •  Keep a winter driving survival kit in your car that includes booster cables, washer fluid, emergency flares, a survival candle, blanket, first aid kit and highway help sign.

To learn more visit halton.ca/winterdriving and halton.ca/beprepared.

Being prepared is the most important step you can take to stay safe this winter. I wish you all a safe and healthy winter season!

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Partnering with police to protect lives of Halton residents

The new Project Lifesaver Halton program is another example of how we’re working with partners, including the Halton Regional Police Service, to keep our community a safe place to live.

Project Lifesaver Halton helps protect family members who may wander due to Alzheimer’s disease, autism, down syndrome, acquired brain injury or other kinds of cognitive impairment, by providing police with a quick and easy way to find people who are wearing the program tracker if needed.

dsc_7703People participating in the program, coordinated by the Halton Regional Police Service, wear a small bracelet with a transmitter that sends out a radio tracking signal 24-hours a day, seven days a week. If caregivers notify police that the individual is missing, a specially trained emergency response team will use mobile tracking equipment to find them.

As part of our commitment to connect people with the services they need, the Region is supporting Project Lifesaver Halton by offering financial assistance to those eligible for the program. If program participants are in need of financial support to cover program costs, the Halton Regional Police Service will connect them with Halton Region.

dsc_7747Project Lifesaver Halton is just one example of how Halton works to enhance the health and well-being of all residents, no matter what their income, age or stage of life. The Region has several programs and services that provide residents with access to the important supports they need. Residents can find more information online about how Halton provides support in areas such as housing, Ontario Works, transit, employment and childcare.

For more information on Project Lifesaver Halton, residents can visit haltonpolice.ca/projectlifesaver, halton.ca/lifesaver or contact the Halton Regional Police Service by dialing 905-825-4810 or projectlifesaver@haltonpolice.ca.

Through various Regional programs and by working together with our community partners, we can keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire for everyone.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Protect yourself from West Nile virus

As the summer winds up, it’s easy to start thinking about back-to-school and the autumn season, but did you know that late summer and early autumn are also the times when West Nile virus (WNV) is often spread and when the symptoms of mosquito-borne diseases often start to appear? Working together, we can work to reduce WNV in our communities while making smart, healthy choices.

Since the virus is spread by mosquitoes, until the first hard frost in the fall, the most important step to preventing WNV is to prevent mosquito bites. Taking a few simple actions can make all the difference in protecting your family’s health:

  1. Wear insect repellent with DEET or Icaridin;
  2. Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn;
  3. Cover up – wear light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs; and
  4. Remove areas of standing water from your home since mosquitoes lay their eggs in water that doesn’t flow.

To help control the mosquito population and reduce the risk of WNV, the Halton Region Health Department treats areas of standing water, such as catch basins, with a larvicide. This larvicide prevents the mosquito larvae from maturing into adult mosquitoes. When walking around your neighbourhood, you may have noticed some dots of spray paint on catch basins – these indicate how many rounds of larvicide have been applied to each catch basin.

Health Department staff also set mosquito monitoring traps throughout the region to determine the level of WNV risk. The number and types of mosquitoes trapped are examined and sent for WNV testing. If the Health Department finds West Nile virus positive mosquitoes in the region, we inform the community to remind you how to help prevent the spread of the virus across Halton.

To learn more about how to protect yourself against WNV, visit halton.ca/wnv. Working together to prevent WNV, we can make safe and healthy choice and keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire all year long.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Protecting Halton from West Nile virus

To help keep West Nile virus (WNV) out of our communities, Halton Region has begun its West Nile virus prevention program. Whether by monitoring and reducing the amount of mosquitoes in Halton or helping our residents make smart choices to prevent West Nile virus, together we can help keep Halton safe and healthy this summer.

Since West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes, Halton Region is diligent in monitoring and preventing mosquito larvae from hatching to help keep WNV out of Halton. As a result of the relatively dry spring, the Halton Region Health Department has found higher numbers of mosquito larvae in catch basins and other places with standing water. To help control the mosquito population and reduce the threat of West Nile virus, the Health Department has started treating areas of standing water with a larvicide to prevent the mosquito larva from maturing into hungry adult mosquitoes.

Health Department staff also set mosquito monitoring traps throughout Halton Region to determine the level of WNV risk. The number and types of mosquitoes are examined and sent for WNV testing.

While Halton works behind the scenes to reduce the chance of WNV in Halton, you can also help protect yourself and continue to enjoy the warm weather this summer.

The most important step to preventing West Nile virus it to prevent mosquito bites and a few simple actions can make all the difference.

  1. Wear insect repellent with DEET or Icaridin.
  2. Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn.
  3. Cover up: wear light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  4. Remove areas of standing water from your home. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water that does not flow.

If you notice any areas of standing water on public property that can’t be drained or removed, please report it to the Health Department and they can determine if larviciding is necessary.

Working together, we can enjoy a safe and healthy summer and keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Keeping you on the move with safe and efficient Regional roads

To keep Halton moving, Halton Region is investing $1.2 billion in its regional roads capital program over the next 10 years and I’m happy to say that this investment in our transportation infrastructure is working. A review of Greater Toronto Area corridors shows Halton Region as having the least congested corridors compared to other regional municipalities, reinforcing how our infrastructure is in the right place at the right time and meeting the needs of our community.

The 2013 Halton Region Transportation Services Progress Report, recently received by Regional Council, outlines what our Transportation division is working on today and in the future. It outlines current and future environmental assessment projects, new and ongoing design and construction projects, ongoing maintenance programs and proactive safety measures all designed to keep Halton roads moving safely and efficiently.

To meet the needs of a growing population, Halton Region has continued to deliver a roads capital improvement program which invests, on average, more than $120 million every year towards ongoing or new construction projects. In 2013, Halton committed $289 million to Regional roads, an increase from $50 million in 2006.

While the Region is committed to investing in its transportation infrastructure, Halton is also committed to programs that encourage residents and businesses to take advantage of transportation alternatives and not rely solely on single occupant vehicles.

In 2013, Smart Commute Halton included 20 Halton businesses with more than 15,000 employees actively involved in the program and 56 registered carpools. Last year, Smart Commute Halton designated workplaces managed to eliminate 483,920 km of road travel, prevented 105,073 kg of greenhouse gas emissions and saved almost $312,295 in commuter savings. If you have a business in Halton and are interested in joining the program, visit our website or dial 311 for more information on this free program.

Halton Region has also undertaken an Active Transportation Master Plan that will provide a strategy for infrastructure, as well as initiatives and programs to promote people-powered travel throughout the Region. In 2013, approximately 11 km of paved shoulders and 13 km of wider curb lanes were built to support active transportation.

Through proactive programs such as Drive SAFE, traffic signal optimization studies and intersection and speed reviews, Halton Region will make sure our transportation infrastructure and programs meet the needs of our community, while protecting the environment, today and in the future.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Road Safety: Working together for a common goal

Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. No matter whether you’re driving, walking, cycling, or skateboarding, we all have a role to play. As we head into the May long weekend, please ensure you follow the rules and obey the laws to help keep Halton a safe community. 

Canada Road Safety Week is May 13-19. During the week our Halton Regional Police Service and other police services across the country will be the targeting high-risk driving behaviors known as the “Big 4 Killers”:

The police do great work but they can’t do it alone. As a community, we all need to help. If you notice someone driving aggressively, you can report them through the Road Watch program. Road Watch is a community-driven program encouraging anonymous reporting of dangerous and/or aggressive driving. If you suspect someone is intoxicated while driving, please call 911.

 Together we can help keep Halton’s roads safe by only driving when sober, being mindful of the speed limit, using seat belts properly, avoiding distractions and using patience with our fellow drivers. Each of us can make a difference. 

So please be safe, be alert, and whatever you do, don’t drink and drive.

Did you know?

  • Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death in Canada.
  • The greatest numbers of alcohol-related crashes occur during the summer months (June, July, and August).

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

 

 

Kicking off Emergency Preparedness week with First Responders Day

This week marks Emergency Preparedness (May 4-10). As a kick off to the week, Halton Region’s CAO, Jane MacCaskill and I joined with Halton Regional Police Service, Halton Paramedic Services, and the Regional Fire Chief to recognize the inaugural First Responders Day on May 1.

The Province of Ontario designated May 1 as First Responders Day to celebrate the sacrifices and hard work of First Responders who have devoted their lives to public service. At the event, Jane and I thanked our emergency services for their ongoing commitment to community safety and for keeping Halton Region the safest community in Canada. We also shared messages of how residents can make a difference too with the three ‘P’s to safety: Prevent, Protect, Prepare. 

Emergency Preparedness Week is about this third ‘P’. It is a national awareness initiative that encourages residents to take steps to be prepared for a range of emergencies. Getting you and your family is actually very easy. It only takes three simple steps:

  1. Know the risks.
  2. Make a plan.
  3. Get a kit. 

Take the time to get to know the risks of possible emergency situations. For example, what would you do if there was an extended power or water failure? When you know the risks, you will be able to take the next step of making a plan.

Making a plan is important so you and your family know what to do in an emergency.. For example, think about how you might stay safe within your home or where you would go if you needed to evacuate. 

Finally, get a kit. Assembling or buying a kit ensures that you and your family will be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.Make sure everyone knows where the kit is, and that it includes a number of items such as a first-aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, etc. You can find a kit checklist on our website. You’ll also find more information about the other two steps. 

Emergency preparedness is important for everyone. While we encourage all residents to take the three steps, we, at Halton Region, also take our commitment to being prepared for any scenario seriously. We have many plans in place to ensure we are ready for any emergency that may impact our region: from weather-related hazards (like the recent ice storm) to health outbreaks like SARS or H1N1. We work closely and collaboratively with our local partners to ensure we have the right plans in place, and we regularly test our plans to ensure we are ready to respond effectively in an emergency. 

So, during Emergency Preparedness Week, please take the time to learn how to prepare yourself, your family, and your community for any situation. Visit our website for all of the information and resources you need: www.halton.ca/beprepared

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”