Wednesday July 5th marks the launch of an important day for all Canadians. It is the first 'National Injury Prevention Day' to help 'build awareness of the devastating impact of injury.'
Statistics indicate injury is the number one killer of Canadians aged 1 to 44, with one child dying every nine hours.
Parachute is a national charitable organization focused on reducing preventable and predictable injuries. Its statistics show these types of injuries result in 16,000 deaths, and 60,000 disabilities in Canada each year. The economic burden to the Canadian economy is $27 billion.
North Bay is the only Northern Ontario city to organize an event to help launch National Injury Prevention Day. Wendy Prieur, an event coordinator says it about raising awareness about the physical, mental and financial impact injuries can cause. The safety message goes beyond workplace injuries.
"We don't necessarily put a thought to injury. People think it might be just impaired driving and thinking of that as an injury, but so is texting and driving, riding your bike without a helmet, so all of the head injuries falls, self-harm and suicide. Those are all predictable and preventable injuries and those are the ones that the National Injury Prevention Day is really trying to highlight," said Prieur.
Connecting Community Partners in Injury Prevention Committee (CCPIP), Parachute and other community partners helped make the day a reality. The North Bay event was held at the waterfront Bandshell, where First Responders, representing police, fire and ambulance, were in attendance. They are the first to be called out when a 9-1-1 call gets placed.
The three levels of government were represented by Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli and Mayor Al McDonald who read a proclamation.
The mayor wants other Northern centres to join North Bay next year, in reaching out to all citizens, driving home the message that everyone needs to be responsible for their own actions when it comes to injury prevention.
"Injuries do kill, so to bringing some education to that from a city perspective is a good thing, but if we can bring more awareness through Northern Ontario and all of Canada, then I think we can reduce those numbers," said McDonald.
As Northern Injury Prevention Coordinator for Parachute, Pat Cliche says the cost to municipalities and the health care system due to injuries is 'huge'.
Cliche says, "People don't realize that looking after a major trauma case in an emergency department far exceeds the cost of looking after even a cardiac case, because a cardiac case, once you stabilize them in emerg, they're moved to the cardiac care unit. But looking after a trauma case in an emergency department sometimes takes three nurses in a trauma room to stabilize them. They go for CAT scans, MRI's, they go to x-ray, they come back. Sometimes they're in a trauma room for three to four hours. If you take the cost of all the stroke and cardiac care compared to trauma, injuries cost a lot more than those two cases put together."
Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli says one of the biggest causes of injury is motor vehicle collisions, and the biggest cause of those are distracted driving, surpassing impaired driving. Talking on the phone and texting being the biggest culprits. Fedeli has introduced a private members bill called the Texting Zones Act.
"It utilizes existing pull over spots on all roads in Ontario as a texting site. So for instance when you drive from North Bay to Sudbury you see the beautiful park near the Veuve River. That would have a sign from the province that would say Texting Zone 5 Kilometres Ahead. It's where you can pull over and safely do all your e-mailing, texting and phone calls."
The bill recently passed second reading so it's on its way to committee. Fedeli hopes it will find a committee in the fall and be ready for third and final reading by the province.