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Keep safety in mind this Labour Day long weekend

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Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Friday, August 29, 2014, 6:45 AM - It's often referred to as the "unofficial end to summer" and with the Labour Day long weekend upon us, you can bet Canadians are planning to celebrate. 

Whether you're heading to the cottage, a campsite or decide to stay closer to home, officials say it's important to keep some safety items in mind.


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Avoid distracted driving 

With an increase in traffic expected this weekend, police officials say they'll be keeping an eye on major roads and highways.

Ontario Provincial Police are targeting distracted drivers in particular, with the deployment of unmarked vehicles on Ontario roads.

They are in addition to the regular patrol vehicles the O.P.P uses to find motorists who talk on cellphones, text or engage in other forms of distraction while driving.

Boat safety

Officials will be keeping an eye on waterways as well.

There are approximately 125 boating related deaths in Canadian waters every year, almost all of which were senseless accidents that are easily preventable.


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The Toronto Marine Unit offers these other boat safety tips:

  • Wear a properly fitted lifejacket at all times.
  • Make sure everyone on board knows safety protocols.
  • Have a good fire extinguisher.
  • Don't operate the watercraft with alcohol, leave it onshore.
  • Check the weather before you go and continue to monitor while you're on the water.

If you operate a powered vessel, you do need a pleasure craft operator card. If you're caught without the card, it's a minimum $250 fine.

If you're lighting fireworks, check the forecast first

If you're lighting fireworks, check the forecast first

Setting off fireworks safely

Weather permitting, this will be a busy weekend for fireworks across Canada.

In addition to paying attention to city by-laws and firebans, people should also pay close attention to the weather conditions.

Mark Fine is with Air Magic in Toronto, and he says the forecast is important when it comes to fireworks.

“[They] can be shot when it's cloudy, or cool, or cold, or if there's even a little bit of drizzle in the air. But if the winds are high it will take the projectiles and take them to places we don't want them to go and possibly take burning material somewhere it shouldn't be,” Fine explains.

You should also ensure that conditions are not too dry in your area, as fireworks could spark wildfires.

Here are some tips offered by the National Council on Fireworks Safety to keep you and your family safe:

  • Purchase your fireworks from a reliable source and keep away from illegal explosives.
  • Choose a clear, open area to light them.
  • Always follow the label directions.
  • Fireworks are meant for outdoor environments only.
  • Always have water handy when lighting fireworks (ie: a garden hose) You can also use sand in a bucket if need be to put them out.
  • Never make your own fireworks.
  • Only light one at a time.
  • Never attempt to re-light fireworks that have misfired (duds).
  • Wait 30 minutes and then place them in a bucket of water.
  • Never throw/point fireworks at other people.
  • Don't carry sparklers in your pocket.
  • The shooter should always wear protective eye glasses or protection for their hands.

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