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First Aid and Safety Tips

First Aid Tips

Safety Tips

Degree of Burns

Degree of Burn


First-degree burn

Affects only the outer layer of the skin.

The burned skin is red, painful and tender without blister formation.

Second-degree burn

Affects both the outer and underlying layer of skin.

These burns produce severe pain, swelling, and blistering that may not appear until several hours after the injury.

Third-degree burn

Extends into deeper tissues.

The burned skin is charred, pale, painless, and leathery.

Responding to Major Burns

  • If someone is on fire, douse the person with water (if available), wrap the person in thick, non-synthetic material to smother the flames (use a wool or cotton coat, rug, or blanket) or lay the person flat and roll him or her on the ground.

If your clothes catch fire: STOP, DROP and ROLL.

  • Call 9-1-1.
  • Make sure that the person is no longer in contact with burning materials. However, DO NOT remove burnt clothing that is stuck to the skin.
  • Make sure the person is breathing. If breathing has stopped, or if the person's airway is blocked, open the airway. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR.
  • Cover the burn area with a clean, dry sterile bandage (if available) or a clean, dry cloth.

DO NOT use a blanket or towel. A sheet will do if the burned area is large. DO NOT apply any ointments. Avoid breaking burn blisters.

  • If fingers or toes have been burned, separate them with dry, sterile, non-adhesive dressings.
  • Elevate the body part that is burned above the level of the heart. Protect the burnt area from pressure and friction.
  • Take steps to prevent shock. Lay the person flat, elevate the feet about 12 inches and cover him or her with a coat or blanket.

DO NOT place the person in this shock position if a head, neck, back, or leg injury is suspected or if it makes the person uncomfortable.

  • Continue to monitor the person's vital signs (pulse, rate of breathing) until medical help arrives.

Responding to Minor Burns

  • If the skin is unbroken, run cool water over the area of the burn or soak it in a cool water bath (not ice water). Keep the area submerged for at least 5 minutes. A clean, cold, wet towel will also help reduce pain.
  • Calm and reassure the person.
  • After flushing or soaking for several minutes, cover the burn with a sterile bandage (if available) or clean cloth.
  • Protect the burn from pressure and friction.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may be used to help relieve the pain. They may also help reduce inflammation and swelling.

DO NOT give children under 12 years of age aspirin.

  • Minor burns will usually heal without further treatment. However, if a second-degree burn covers an area more than 5cm - 8cm in diameter, or if it occurred on the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, or a major joint, then treat the burn as a major burn.
  • Make sure the person is up-to-date on tetanus immunization.

Choking - Adult or Child over 1 Year

  • Ask, "Are you choking? Can you speak?" DO NOT intervene if the person is coughing forcefully and able to speak -- a strong cough can dislodge the object.
  • Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around the person's waist.
  • Make a fist with one hand. Place the thumb side of your fist just above the person's navel and well below the breastbone.
  • Grasp the fist with your other hand.
  • Make quick, upward and inward thrusts with your fist.
  • Continue these thrusts until the object is dislodged or the victim loses consciousness.

If the Person Loses Consciousness :

  • Lower the person to the floor.
  • Call or tell someone to call 9-1-1.
  • Begin CPR.
  • Only remove the obstruction if you can see it.

Choking - Infant under 1 Year

  • DO NOT perform these steps if the infant is coughing forcefully or has a strong cry. A strong cough can dislodge the object.
  • Lay the infant face down, along your forearm. Use your thigh or lap for support. Hold the infant's chest in your hand and jaw with your fingers. Point the infant's head downward, lower than the body.
  • Give up to five quick, forceful blows between the infant's shoulder blades. Use the heel of your free hand.

If the object isn't free after five back blows:

  • Turn the infant face up. Use your thigh or lap for support. Support the head.
  • Place two fingers on the middle of his breastbone just below the nipples.
  • Give up to five quick thrusts down, compressing the chest 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the chest.
  • Continue this series of five back blows and five chest thrusts until the object is dislodged or the infant loses consciousness.

If the infant loses consciousness

If the child becomes unresponsive, stops breathing, or turns blue:

  • Shout for help.
  • Give infant CPR. Call 911.
  • If you see something blocking the airway, try to remove it.

Choking - Heimlich Maneuver

The Heimlich maneuver is an emergency technique for preventing suffocation when a victim's airway (windpipe) becomes blocked by a piece of food or other object.

It can be used safely on both adults and children, but most experts do not recommend it for infants less than 1 year old. It can also be self-administered.

For a conscious victim who is sitting or standing, position yourself behind the victim and reach your arms around his or her waist. Place your fist, thumb side in, just above the victim's navel and grab the fist tightly with your other hand.

Pull your fist abruptly upwards and inwards to increase airway pressure behind the obstructing object and force it from the windpipe. The procedure may need to be repeated several times before the object is dislodged.

Coronary Artery Disease

What is coronary artery disease? Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common form of heart disease.

It occurs when arteries in the heart are blocked, leading to complications including:

  • Angina (chest pain) if the heart does not have enough oxygen, or
  • Heart attack if the heart does not get any oxygen at all. During a heart attack, some of the heart muscle can die from a lack of oxygen.

Over time plaque can build up on artery walls causing narrowing of the artery (atherosclerosis) which may begin as early as childhood. Plaque in the artery may rupture causing the bodies repair system to form a clot to heal the wound. The clot, however, can block the artery leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Early warning signs may include: fatigue, pain and/or dizziness as well as the symptoms associated with angina: a squeezing, suffocating or burning feeling in your chest that tends to start in the centre of your chest but may move to your arm, neck, back, throat or jaw. Women are more likely to experience atypical symptoms such as vague chest discomfort.

If left untreated, CAD can lead to other serious problems such as heart attack, stroke or even death.

Identify a Heart Attack

What's a heart attack? A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when a part of the heart muscle dies or is permanently damaged because of an inadequate supply of oxygenated blood to that area.

Heart attacks are most often associated with coronary artery disease.

Signs and symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Sudden discomfort or pain that does not go away with rest
  • Pain that may be in your chest, neck, jaw, shoulder, arms or back
  • Pain/discomfort that may feel like burning, squeezing, heaviness, tightness, or pressure
  • In women pain may be more vague
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea, indigestion, vomiting
  • Cool, clammy skin
  • Anxiety, denial

Highest risk of cardiac arrest (sudden death) is during the first 4 hours after you start feeling symptoms.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Call 911 immediately
  • Stop all physical activity
  • If you are prescribed nitroglycerin, take your normal dosage
  • Chew and swallow 1 adult 325mg Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid - ASA) or 2 80mg tablets

Risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD):

  • Family history of CAD
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking

Identify a Stroke

What's a stroke? A stroke (brain attack) occurs when blood cannot get to a portion of the brain due to a blood clot or bleed. When this occurs, the portion of the brain that is no longer receiving oxygenated blood will die.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Sudden weakness, numbness, or tingling in the face, arm or leg.
  • Sudden loss of vision, particularly in one eye or double vision.
  • Sudden temporary loss of speech or trouble understanding speech.
  • Sudden severe and unusual headache.
  • Sudden loss of balance, especially with any of the previous signs.

The Provincial Stroke Protocol

With any of the above noted symptoms, patients must be transported and arrive at the hospital in under 2 hours of the onset of symptoms to be considered for "clot busting" medications. These medications are similar to those that are administered to patients suffering a heart attack.

Broken Bones

  • Check the person's airway, breathing, and circulation. If necessary, begin rescue breathing, CPR or bleeding control.
  • Keep the person still and calm.
  • If needed, call 911.
  • Examine the person closely for other injuries.
  • In most cases, if medical help responds quickly, allow the medical personnel to take further action on the broken bone.
  • If the skin is broken, cover the wound with sterile dressings.
  • Immobilize the broken bone with a splint or sling in the position you found it. Possible splints include a rolled up newspaper or strips of wood. Immobilize the area both above and below the injured bone.
  • Apply ice packs to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Take steps to prevent shock. Lay the person flat, elevate the feet about 12 inches above the head, and cover the person with a coat or blanket. DO NOT move the person if a head, neck or back injury is suspected.


Direct pressure will stop most external bleeding and is the most important initial first aid measure.

Blood loss can cause bruises, which usually result from a blow or a fall. They are dark, discoloured areas on the skin. Apply a cool compress to the area as soon as possible to reduce any swelling. Wrap the ice in a towel and place the towel over the injury. Do not place ice directly on the skin.

Serious injuries don't always bleed heavily and some relatively minor injuries (for example, scalp wounds) can bleed profusely. People who take blood-thinning medication or who have a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia may bleed excessively and quickly because their blood cannot clot properly. Bleeding in such people requires immediate medical attention.

Always wash your hands before (if possible) and after giving first aid to someone who is bleeding to avoid infections. Try to use latex gloves when treating a bleeding victim. Latex gloves should be found in every first aid kit.

People allergic to latex can use a non-latex, synthetic glove.


Dehydration is caused by the excessive loss of water and salts from the body due to illness or from prolonged exposure to heat. Severe dehydration can easily become a life-threatening condition for infants and the elderly.


  • Severe sweating
  • Extreme heat
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Certain medications which can cause the body to lose water

Preventing Dehydration:

  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day - more when sweating
  • Avoid strenuous work or sports activities during intense sunlight hours (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Signs of Dehydration:

  • Thirst
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Light headedness
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth (mucous membranes)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Less frequent urination


  • Move the person to a cool and dry place
  • Have the person lie down and rest
  • Have person drink fluids such as water, juice or sports drinks
  • Monitor the person - especially children and the elderly

If the condition continues or appears to be severe, go to the nearest hospital emergency room or call 911.


Sunburn occurs when skin cells are burned because they are not protected from direct exposure to the sun.

Depending on the length of exposure, the result can range from a mild burning sensation to severe blistering of the affected area. Research shows that repeated overexposure to the sun may lead to various forms of cancer including melanoma. There is no such thing as a healthy tan.


  • Overexposure to the sun
  • Children, the elderly and people with pale skin are more susceptible to sunburns
  • Certain medications can cause the skin to burn quicker

Preventing Sunburns:

  • Avoid exposure during the intense sunlight hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Stay out of direct sunlight - even light cloud cover will not necessarily protect you from sun
  • Apply sunscreen with a minimum of 15 SPF prior to exposure
  • Wear broad-brimmed hats to shadow the face, ears and neck
  • Wear light-coloured and lightweight long sleeved shirts to minimize exposure to the sun
  • Water and concrete will reflect the sun and intensify its effects

Warning Signs:

  • Skin that is red, tender and warm to the touch and/or blistering, peeling several days later
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Fever or chills
  • Dizziness

Symptoms may not appear for several hours and the full effect of the burn may take up to 24 hours to occur.


  • Cool compresses, moistened wash cloths placed in a freezer or taking a cool bath will help minimize pain and swelling
  • Pain medications such as Tylenol or Advil may help to reduce pain and swelling - never give Aspirin (ASA) to children
  • When in doubt consult your family physician

Don't Leave Children in Hot Cars

The inside of a car can heat up quickly to temperatures that could hurt or kill a child.

The temperature inside a parked car can exceed 50 C (122 F) within 10 to 20 minutes on a typical sunny summer day in Canada. Within 40 minutes, it will get so hot that a child inside the car could die. Opening the window slightly does not keep the temperature at a safe level.

Young children, especially infants are 3 to 5 times more sensitive to heat than adults. Young children have small body sizes and do not regulate their body temperature as quickly as adults. Rising temperatures inside a car can cause a child to suffer from heat stress, dehydration, shock and in extreme cases, even death.

To keep children safe in cars this summer, Safe Kids Canada recommends:

  • Never leave a child alone in a car, even with the windows down.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks and keep keys out of children's reach. Your child or someone else's child could get into the car and get trapped.
  • Ensure all children leave the car when you have reached your destination. Remember to remove sleeping infants and children in car seats.
  • If your car has been parked outside on a hot day, make sure the car seat and seat belts are not too hot before buckling your children in the car.
  • Carry plenty of water or other fluids when travelling with children to prevent them from dehydrating.

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

Snow and ice can create a hazardous situation for everyone, especially seniors and people with disabilities.

Shoveling and using salt, sand or other substances with ice melting properties will help reduce the potential for slip and fall incidents, which cause serious injuries. Safe snow shoveling requires proper preparation, the right tools, good technique and knowledge.


  • Talk to your doctor about whether your health permits you to shovel before winter
  • If you have had a heart attack or any other form of heart disease, if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, if you are smoker or lead a sedentary lifestyle, think twice about snow shoveling
  • Consider hiring a student or using a volunteer service if you are a senior
  • Shovel at least 1 to 2 hours after eating and avoid caffeine and nicotine
  • Warm up first (walk or march in place for several minutes before beginning)
  • Start slow and continue at a slow pace (shovel for 5 to 7 minutes and rest 2 to 3 minutes)
  • Shovel early and often - new snow is lighter than heavily packed or partially melted snow
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration

Stop shoveling and call 911 if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arms or neck
  • Unusual or prolonged shortness of breath
  • A dizzy or faint feeling
  • Excessive sweating or nausea and vomiting

Wear multiple layers of clothing and cover as much skin as possible. Wear a hat and a scarf, ensuring that neither obstructs your vision. Wear mittens. They tend to be warmer than gloves and wear boots with a non-skid or no slip rubber sole.

County Contacts

26 Park Avenue, Burford, ON N0E 1A0
Phone: 519-449-2451
Toll Free: 1-888-250-2295
Fax: 519-449-2454
Monday - Friday - 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 160
Burford, ON
N0E 1A0

Property Tax
26 Park Avenue, Burford, ON N0E 1A0
Phone: 519-449-2451
Toll Free: 1-888-250-2295
Fax: 519-449-1380
Monday - Friday - 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 249
Burford, ON
N0E 1A0