As the unofficial start of summer for many, the Victoria Day weekend is a time of fun and relaxation. Unfortunately, as history has shown, it can also be a time of danger.
With that in mind, STARS encourages Manitobans to keep safety at the forefront as they enjoy the long weekend.
“We often see a rise in call volume over long weekends, notably the Victoria Day weekend,” said STARS Provincial Director of Manitoba Operations, Grant Therrien. “During the 2018 Victoria Day weekend we had 13 missions from May 18-21. Those calls included motor vehicle collisions, ATV accidents and boating incidents.”
Therrien said there are a number of safety tips STARS encourages Manitobans to keep in mind over the weekend:
- Be patient while on the way to your destination. “Everybody wants to get to the cottage or campground as soon as possible. However, with the high traffic volumes that come with the long weekend, planning ahead and giving yourself extra time to reach your destination can be the difference between getting there safely or becoming involved in an accident.”
- Be safe while on and around water. “This includes having the proper amount of lifejackets on board and ensuring that you and your passengers are wearing them. We also encourage boaters to be mindful of the weather before heading out and do not mix alcohol and boating. And of course, keep a close watch on children any time they are near the water. There have been a number of tragic drowning cases in Manitoba over the past few years and sadly, almost every one of them was avoidable.”
- Wear helmets while operating all-terrain vehicles. “We get a number of calls involving ATVs and in many of them helmets were not worn. Accidents can happen in an instant and wearing a helmet dramatically reduces your risk of suffering a severe head injury.”
- Be fire safe. “Relaxing around a campfire is a popular way to wind down the day. Make sure that any items or canisters which could ignite or explode are kept away from the fire. Also, closely supervise children around the fire. We have responded to calls where a patient has tripped and fell into a fire and we do not wish that for anyone, let alone a child.”
These are just a few things we encourage the public to keep in mind, but the most important message we can send is that whatever you are doing over the weekend please keep safety in mind,” Therrien said. “We want your memories of the weekend to include the fun times you enjoyed with your friends and family, not the site of a STARS helicopter.”
Therrien added STARS’ Manitoba base has been especially busy over the last few weeks. In April there were 76 missions flown in the province, which was the busiest April for STARS since commencing full time operations in Manitoba. As of May 15 they had already responded to 37 calls for service.