* SPRING ALERT *
Every spring we have had bear sightings in our community. Please do not leave easily accessed garbage and compost in your yard.
To report any sightings please call 1-866-514-2327 or contact www.ontario.ca/bearwise
Warmer weather and lengthening hours of daylight beckon, and kids are answering the call. You can help keep them safe by reviewing some of the simple safety rules below.
Vehicle Speed Limits
- Brief your children on what to do if they get lost in the woods after dark. Let them know that their best survival bet, if lost, is to stay in one place and wait to be found.
- Equip your children with a small penlight attached to a key chain or clipped to the inside of a jacket or coat. Tell them it’s not a toy and should only be used for emergencies.
- Attach a small whistle to the zipper of a coat. A whistle is an ideal signalling device if a child is lost or hurt.
Dark and Dusk
Rising temperatures and increasing hours of daylight bring with them a corresponding increase in traffic accidents involving kids and cars. The periods of greatest risk are the hours just before and after sunset. During periods of twilight, visibility is limited and a driver’s depth perception is reduced by low light levels.
- Our streets do not have streetlights or lamp posts. It is very dark on our roads past sunset. Bring a flashlight if you go out for a walk.
- All evening play clothes (especially jackets, coats, and wind breakers) should have reflective cloth strips. So should bikes, helmets, and backpacks.
- Evening strolls should include a flashlight — especially if all or most of the walking is alongside roads and streets without sidewalks.
- Bike riding should be specifically prohibited, unless the bike has been equipped with reflectors, head lamps, and other night-riding safety features.
Playing in the Street
City streets and country roads aren’t playgrounds, and we don’t advise that kids use them as such. However, if you do allow your kids to play in the street or on lightly traveled roads, please follow a few common sense safety tips.
- Stop all play when a vehicle is spotted; move to the side of the road and resume play only after the vehicle has passed.
- Use inexpensive traffic cones marked “Play Area Ahead” to advise drivers that kids may be in the road ahead. Cones should be placed on the center line, so as not to block traffic a few hundred feet away from the play area. Remove cones when kids are finished playing or bike riding.
Ponds, swamps, streams, lakes and rivers are prone to flooding in the spring from melting snow, and the icy water poses a significant threat to the health and safety of kids who aren’t “water wise.” The risk of drowning or hypothermia can be greatly reduced by following these simple safety rules:
- Stay away from rivers, lakes and streams during spring floods. Swiftly moving water, even a few inches deep, can easily knock children off their feet and quickly carry them beyond the reach of safety.
- Banks of rivers, lakes and streams are very unstable and prone to collapse during periods of high water. Stay away.
- Do not trust spring ice on ponds and lakes. Warm days and cold nights result in weak and mushy ice. Stay off the ice.
- In winter be extra careful of natural springs making ice unsafe. Even in very shallow areas there can be spots where ice does not become thick due to warmth coming up from the muddy lake bottom.
Bottom line? Let your kids know that safety rules aren’t designed to ruin anyone’s fun. Tell them to play hard, play fast, and play smart. Enjoy!
Be Bear Wise – Tips
Problems with bears are usually created by people. By following these tips every spring, summer and fall, you can avoid attracting bears to your property:
- Eliminate odours. Put garbage in containers that have tight fitting lids, and only put it out on the morning of garbage day, not the night before;
- Whenever possible, store garbage in bear-resistant containers, or indoors (house, shed, garage). Do not store garbage in plywood boxes, old freezers or vehicles;
- Put meat scraps in the freezer until garbage day;
- If you do not have curb-side pick up, take your garbage to the dump often;
- Frequently wash garbage cans and recycle containers and lids with a strong smelling disinfectant.
- Fill bird feeders only through the winter months;
- Do not leave pet food outdoors. Feed pets indoors, not outside or in screened in areas or porches.
- Avoid landscaping with trees, shrubs or plants that produce food known to attract bears (some examples include crab apple trees, mountain ash, beech and oak);
- Do not put meat, fish or sweet food (including fruit) in your composter;
- Remove vegetables and fallen fruit from the ground;
- Pick all ripe fruit from trees and bushes.
- Be aware that cooking odours can attract bears;
- Remove grease and food residue from barbecue grills, including the grease cup underneath, after each use;
- Learn about bears, their needs and behaviour. Share your knowledge with others. Encourage your neighbours and your community to practice Bear Wise habits. It takes everyone working together to keep bears away.
In the Spring the bears come out of hibernation. As we see in this picture, taken by one of our neighbours on Sumcot Drive, this bear was helping himself to a bird feeder in his front yard. Although taken last year this bear could very well still be in our area. Bear proof your garbage bins and separate your food scraps. This will prevent them from becoming a nuisance and a possible danger to people and pets in the community.