Officials offer safety tips for Manitobans over long weekend
Published Saturday, May 19, 2012 1:03PM CST
With many Manitobans slated to head out to campgrounds, parks and lakes for the long weekend, officials are offering up advice on staying safe.
Under the current fire restrictions, campfires are only permitted in approved fire pits in provincial parks and campgrounds, said the province.
Crews battled a number of wildfires in southeastern Manitoba early in the week.
"The fire danger is so high that if you have a large fire and you have a lot of people in the backcountry -- we'd have no way of contacting them or ensuring their safety," said Gary Friesen, fire program manager.
If people spot a wildfire, they're also asked to call the province's tip line at 1-800-782-00767.
Travel restrictions are also in place. The province said people can get information on the restrictions by contacting local Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship offices, or by calling 1-204-345-1444.
Conservation offices are also listed online at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/wildlife/about/who.html
The week of May 19 to 25 additionally marks Safe Boating Awareness Week. At an event Friday, officials urged people to make sure to wear life jackets.
"Statistics indicate that one-third of all drowning occurrences are boating related," said Carl Shier, chair, Manitoba Coalition for Safer Waters. "By simply wearing a personal flotation device while boating, 100 lives could be saved each year in Canada."
Shier said that people not wearing their lifejackets continues to be a contributing factor in 80 per cent of drownings.
Officials also advised people to keep watch on children around boats and docks, and to make sure vessels are stocked with proper safety gear.
For those on travelling on land, Manitoba Conservation advised people to be mindful of wildlife to make sure to remove things, such as food or garbage, that attract wildlife.
Officials also advise people out walking to make noise, talk to others and carry a whistle or noise maker if walking alone to ward off animals.
Experts say if you do cross paths with an animal, stay calm and remove yourself from the situation.
Over the May long weekend, alcohol is not permitted in provincial parks. Park fees are also now in effect with a day pass costing $4, while a weekend pass costs $8 and an annual pass costs $30.