The May long weekend, with backyard bonfires, barbeques, and maybe even some neighbourhood fireworks displays, usually signals summer is just around the corner.
This year’s May long weekend will look drastically different because of COVID-19 and restrictions that are still in place. Even though the large public gatherings and social activities with extended family and friends won’t be on your agenda, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) wants to ensure you are taking steps to keep you and your immediate family safe.
If you’re planning a backyard bonfire, always ensure your approved fire pit receptacle meets bylaw regulations.
Residents should only burn clean, dry, unpainted and untreated wood. Burning yard waste – including grass, leaves, or tree trimmings is prohibited. WFPS Assistant Chief of Prevention and Public Education Mark Reshaur said it’s easy for fires to spread when conditions are not ideal.
“Backyard fires need to be kept under control at all times,” he said.
Reshaur reminded residents to always have a means of extinguishing a fire close by – such as a water hose or bucket of sand – should it be required.
It is also important to pay attention to weather conditions.
“City bylaws state burning – even in approved fire pits – is not allowed if wind speeds exceed 25 kilometres per hour,” he said.
If you’re planning on lighting up any fireworks to mark the long weekend, precautions – as well as a Fire Works Display Permit issued by WFPS – need to be in place.
Residents must submit a fireworks permit form, which is available online.
Reshaur also encouraged residents to play it safe around Winnipeg’s waterways, particularly as the boating and fishing seasons start. Annually, WFPS responds to nearly 200 water rescues.
“Rivers are high right now and have fast-moving currents,” he said.
He encouraged parents to speak to their children about staying away from the rivers, streams and retention ponds.
“With kids out of school right now, they may be spending more time outdoors, unsupervised” he said. “It’s important that parents teach their children about the risks our waterways present.”
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