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Emergency Equipment First Response at Sandy Haven


By Sam Goodwin (Municipal Liaison Committee – UFRCA)
Posted June 17, 2014

Health and safety on the Upper French River is an important issue and ongoing concern for members of the UFCRA.  We are all aware that this place we love to spend time at is also remote and rugged, and that in the event of an accident or illness, it’s just not going to be possible to get the same kind of access to emergency medical services that we would at home.

And so this year, the UFRCA has been working on something a little different but also something that we believe has the potential to make a real difference to the health and safety of everyone on the Upper French River, regardless of whether you’re a cottager or a visitor to the area and even if you’re not a member of the UFRCA.  

That “something different” is a pilot project to test how effective it would be to have some basic emergency equipment available at Sandy Haven Fishing Camp and a team of volunteers that could use that equipment to be first responders in emergency situations.

Getting this project underway has been a partnership between the UFRCA and the Municipality of West Nipissing, including the Chief Administrative Officer Jay Barbeau, the Fire Service Chief Richard Maranda, and officials from Emergency Medical Services (EMS).  When the UFRCA approached the Municipality with this idea, the response was an unqualified and enthusiastic “Yes!”,   followed closely by “How can we help?”

Here are the details of what is just now getting underway and what will be happening over the next several weeks:

1. Sandy Haven Camp (Todd Thomas, Owner) will be the host site for the Emergency Equipment and Todd will be the custodian of the equipment – all of which has been generously loaned by Municipality of West Nipissing EMS and Fire Services and consists of a professional emergency kit, a basket stretcher, and an AED (Automated External Defibrillator.)

2. Todd has also taken on the role to identify and coordinate a small team of volunteers who are near Sandy Haven, who preferably are at their cottages frequently or for much of the summer, and who are already trained or have agreed to be trained.  That training, which Todd will coordinate through West Nipissing EMS, will likely include First Aid, CPR, and the use of an AED.  These volunteers, if available at the time an emergency call is received, will be prepared to assist Todd in responding. 

3. The emergency kit and basket stretcher are already in place at Sandy Haven and the AED is expected to arrive shortly.  In the next few weeks, Todd will be installing the equipment in a dedicated shed (provided by the UFRCA) that will be clearly marked with an “AED located here” sign and easily visible from and close to the gas dock.
4. Todd is also investigating having the AED tied into the Bell phone line so that a call automatically goes to 911 when the device is removed (which was identified by EMS as the preferred approach).

5. Once the members of the volunteer team are confirmed, a phone list will be put together and posted on the UFCRA website.  Copies will also be available at various locations such Sandy Haven, Starlite Marina in Sturgeon Falls, and Riverview Cottages at Dokis.

This pilot project is going to run for at least two years (two full cottage seasons) at the end of which the UFCRA will assess whether it's been useful and look at the potential for other sites to be established.
So, that’s the basic set up of the program and its current status.  But it's also important for everyone to be clear from the outset on what program is and isn’t and what Todd and the volunteers will be doing and not doing. 

1. This will not be a self-serve program – Todd has the equipment in his care and the expectation is that anyone in need will contact either him or one of the other trained volunteers (once the team is in place) when the need arises.  Todd and/or other volunteers will bring the equipment to the location.

2. The team of volunteers are not replacements for EMS.  They will have the training and basic equipment to be a form of “first response” to emergency calls from people in need.  As first responders, their job will be to try to stabilize individuals until professional EMS staff can arrive. 
People who contact Todd (or, once the team is in place, one of the other trained volunteers) will also need to call 911 so that EMS can initiate their response.

3. Todd and the team of volunteers will be doing this on as “as available” basis, which is the same approach used for other emergency first response teams that have been set up across Ontario.  This means that there is no guarantee that any or all team members will be available in a crisis situation and if and when this occurs, the call to 911 and dispatching of EMS becomes the first response.

4. Upon receipt of the 911 call, EMS staff will be dispatched via the new MWN Fire Department boat, which is moored at the new Minnehaha Bay Municipal Marina in Sturgeon Falls.  EMS officials anticipate that their response time will be approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour under ideal conditions, which is a significant improvement over the former situation where it was necessary to dispatch a police boat.
In closing, UFRCA wants to offer it's very sincere thanks to the Council of the Municipality of West Nipissing for their support for this initiative and for the efforts of Jay Barbeau (Chief Administrative Officer), Richard Maranda (Fire Services Chief) and all of the EMS staff at the Municipality of West Nipissing for responding so quickly and emphatically to both of these projects.  The “time to market” for both initiatives has been extremely quick and our municipal partners have demonstrated considerable creativity, resourcefulness, and generosity in helping us achieve our goal of making the Upper French River a safer place for cottagers and visitors alike.
Once we have the list of volunteer team members, we will send it out by email to UFCRA members and paper copies will also be available at the various locations as noted above.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about this initiative, you can send an email to Sam Goodwin on behalf of the UFCRA Board of Directors at  Sam will also be at the UFCRA Annual General Meeting at Dokis on Sunday August 3 and will provide a brief overview and be able to respond to any questions then.

HEALTH RESOURCES Close To The French River


Tele-Health 1-866-797-0000



Sturgeon Falls 705-753-3110



Sturgeon Falls 705-753-3110

North Bay Regional Hospital (* See below) 705-474-1200


Also in Noelville: 

Noelville Health Clinic                                    
Dr. G. A Seguin                                 
20 St. David Street North
Box 98 Noelville ON P0M 2N0



Noelville Pharmacy                                       
20 St. David St.
Noelville ON



Sudbury East Nursing Station                       
21 St. Antoine St.
Noelville ON P0M 2N0

Nurse practitioner

In Sturgeon Falls 


Dr. J. Anawati 705-753-0860

Dr.A. Behamdouni 705-753-3342

Dr. Jane Deschene 705-753-4466

Dr. Richard Katsuno 705-753-5352

Dr. G. Labelle 705-753-6319

Dr. A. Morrison 705-753-5205

Dr. A. S. Wadhwa 705-753-0540


Dr. B. Brandon 705-753-0777

Dr. W. Smith 705-753-4555

Dr. L. Paju 705-753-3100


Dr. P. Delean  705-753-2302

Dr. R. Philion 705-753-2302

Dr. J.R. Gervais 705-753-1671

Dr. M. Roberge 705-753-2720


Dr. P. Allaire   705-753-1490

Dr. M. Poitras-Horner 705-753-3230


Sturgeon Falls 705-753-0324


West Nipissing Pharmacy                             
219 King Street 


Rexall Pharmacy                                           
228 King Street


No-Frills Grocery Pharmacy                         
Hwy. 17 Sturgeon Falls


* In North Bay
The new North Bay Regional Health Centre is located on Highway 17 just west of Gormanville Road on the western edge of North Bay. It opened in January, 2011, and replaces the Scollard and St. Joseph sites of the former North Bay Hospital. The old sites are now closed.
North Bay has a full slate of medical and allied services. Please consult a telephone directory.
North Bay also has several walk-in clinics. Please phone to check hours as they are subject to change, especially on holiday weekends.
Doctors Clinic

Guardian Drug Building

Suite 304
1950 Algonquin
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Near North Medical Clinic
66 Josephine
Monday to Friday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Avoid These

Mercury Poisoning And Other Contaminants In Fish


Everyone who consumes fish should be aware of safe levels of consumption. The Ministry of Environment publishes a detailed annual Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish that outlines the safe consumption levels of all species of fish in Ontario including Lake Nipissing and the French River. The guide gives consumption advice for sport and game fish found at more than 1700 locations in the province. The Guide is published every other year and the most recent edition contains the most up-to-date information. An electronic copy of the guide, the current version, is available on the Ministry of the Environment Web site at: Guide to Eating Ontario Sport fish

Lake Nipissing and the French River are in the Southern Ontario section.


It is recommended that all should read the entire Guide, but the critical information needed to understand the Guide is found in the Summary of critical information (pg. 2) and Instructions on use of the guide (pg. 3)

Consumers with questions on the status of specific consumption advisories or to obtain detailed data for specific locations should contact:

Sport Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program
Ministry of the Environment

125 Resources Rd.
Etobicoke, ON M9P 3V6
Telephone (416) 327-6816 or 1-800-820-2716

E. coli


E. coli (Escherichia coli) is a species of bacillus bacteria commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals. There are many types of E. coli. Most are not harmful to humans while some, such as E. coli O157: H7, cause serious illness.

Sources and Transmission

E. coli infections can be spread by many food sources such as undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized apple cider and milk, ham, turkey, roast beef, sandwich meats, raw vegetables, cheese and contaminated water. Once someone has consumed contaminated food or water, this infection can be passed from person to person by hand-to-mouth contact. E. coli does not survive in the air, on surfaces like tables or counters and is not spread by coughing, kissing or normal, everyday interactions with friends and neighbours. Poor hand washing and improper food handling are factors that lead to the spread of this illness.


  1. Cook ground beef thoroughly to an internal temperature of 70°C or until the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink.

  2. Drink only pasteurized apple cider and milk. Never let youngsters sample milk produced directly from the animal.

  3. Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating. Ensure the water itself is not contaminated.

  4. Thorough hand washing is always a good practice. Make sure hands are washed with soap and water after using the toilet, handling diapers, pets, and livestock or before preparing food.

  5. Clean and sanitize counter tops and utensils after these have been in contact with raw meats and poultry.

  6. Use separate work surfaces and utensils for preparing raw and cooked foods.

  7. Keep cold foods cold at 4°C (39 F) or lower. Keep hot foods hot at 70°C (158 F) or higher.

  8. Drink water from a supply intended for human consumption.

  9. Do not drink water from open streams and lakes.

  10. If ill with diarrhea, avoid preparing or handling food that others will be eating. If employed as a food handler or a health care worker, report any symptoms to your manager.



Stomach cramps, diarrhea (possibly bloody), fever (infrequent), nausea, vomiting. If you or a family member have any of the symptoms, it is important to wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before preparing food for others. If possible, have someone who has not been infected prepare the meals. 

 Persistent Symptoms

Anyone who shows symptoms of E. coli should see their physician immediately.
Under 10% of individuals with E. coli infection will develop Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is a serious complication of E. coli infection that may lead to kidney failure. Symptoms of HUS may include a decrease in the amount of urine produced, swelling in the face, hands, and feet, paleness of the skin, irritability and fatigue. Young children (especially under 5 years of age) and the elderly are most at risk for HUS. It is important to watch for the signs of HUS even after diarrhea has stopped. Anyone with these symptoms should either see their physician or call the North Bay or Sudbury hospital immediately.


Generally, an E. coli infection must run its course. Antibiotics and antimotility medications are not recommended and may increase the risk of complications.

More information
North Bay and District Health Uni
681 Commercial Street
North Bay, Ontario P1B 4E7 Tel: (705) 474-1400 Fax: (705) 474-8252
Source: Ministry of Health Posted: 10/12/2

West Nile Virus


"West Nile Virus", a recent addition to our cottage vocabulary, is a mosquito-borne virus. Mosquitoes transmit the virus after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of birds which carry the virus. In Canada, the virus was first confirmed in birds in Ontario in 2001 and the first human case of WN virus was confirmed in Ontario in September 2002. For most Canadians, the risk of illness from West Nile virus is low, and the risk of serious health effects is even lower. Nevertheless, it is important to know the symptoms of illness related to infection and how to minimize your risk, especially if virus activity is reported in an area near you.

Many infected people have no symptoms and do not get sick, or have only mild symptoms. When infection does cause illness, symptoms will usually appear within two to 15 days. The extent and severity of symptoms vary widely from person to person. In mild cases, there may be flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache and body aches. Some people may also develop a mild rash, or swollen lymph glands. Some individuals have weaker immune systems, and they are at greater risk of developing symptoms and health effects that are more serious, including meningitis and encephalitis. Meningitis is inflammation of the lining of the brain or spinal cord. Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain itself. These conditions can be fatal. In such cases, symptoms could include the rapid onset of severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, nausea, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, loss of consciousness, lack of coordination, muscle weakness and paralysis. During 2002, several other symptoms of WN virus were identified including movement disorders, Parkinsonism, poliomyelitis-like syndrome and muscle degeneration. Anyone who has a sudden onset of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

At risk 
While persons of any age and health status can be at risk for serious health effects associated with West Nile virus infection, the overall risk of serious health effects increases with age. People with weaker immune systems are considered to be at greater risk for serious health effects. This higher risk group includes people with chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, alcoholism, or heart disease; and people undergoing medical treatment like chemotherapy that may weaken the immune system.  Although individuals with weaker immune systems are at greater risk, WN virus can cause severe health effects for people of any age and any health status. This is why it is so important to reduce the risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes. Anyone exposed to mosquitoes in an area where WN virus has been detected is at some degree of risk for infection.

Long Term Effects
Because WN virus is an emerging disease, the long-term effects are not fully understood. Studies to date show that some people with serious symptoms and health effects recover completely, while others experience prolonged health problems. These problems can include physical effects, such as long-term muscle weakness and paralysis, fatigue and headache cognitive effects, such as confusion, depression, problems with concentration and memory loss; and functional effects, such as difficulty with preparing meals, going out, shopping, etc. Scientists do not know why some people recover while others continue to have varying degrees of health problems.

To protect yourself and your family, you should avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. You can take action on two fronts:

1. Minimize your exposure to mosquitoes:

  • When going outdoors, use insect repellents that contain DEET or other approved ingredients

  • Try to avoid spending time outdoors at dawn and at dusk when mosquitoes are most active

  • Wear protective clothing such long-sleeved shirts, long pants and a hat. Light coloured clothing is best because mosquitoes tend to be more attracted to dark colours

  • Make sure that door and window screens fit tightly and have no holes that may allow mosquitoes indoors  


2. Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your cottage:
Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water and it takes about four days for the eggs to grow into adults that are ready to fly. Even a small amount of water, for example, in a saucer under a flowerpot, is enough to act as a breeding ground. As a result, it is important to eliminate as much standing water around your property as possible by:

  • Regularly draining standing water from items like pool covers, saucers under flowerpots, recycle bins, garbage cans, etc.

  • Remove old unused items from around your property including old tires that have a tendency to collect water

  • Change the water in wading pools, birdbaths, pet bowls and livestock watering tanks twice a week

  • Cover rain barrels with screens

  • Clean out eaves troughs regularly to prevent clogs that can trap water


Over-the-counter products that are designed to get rid of garden pests aren't effective for overall mosquito control. Regarding the use of other pesticides, only workers who are licensed by provincial authorities and are trained in the safe use of pesticides can carry out mosquito control programs. Decisions on whether or not to use pesticides to control the spread of West Nile virus in your community will be made by local and provincial health authorities.

Reporting Dead Birds
One of the early signs of West Nile in an area is the discovery of dead crows or ravens which are very susceptible to the virus. If you find a dead crow or raven at the cottage do not touch it. Please call the North Bay and District Health Unit immediately at 705-474-1400, x487.

More Information
Ontario Ministry of Environment website - West Nile

Posted: 8/25/2004



Rabies is an infectious, contagious, and lethal disease of the central nervous system. It has been known since 2300 B.C. and exists in almost all parts of the world. Once infected and left untreated, rabies is fatal. The rabies virus is concentrated in the saliva, mucus membranes, and central nervous tissue of a rabid animal. Only humans and other mammals can become infected through a cut or scratch from an animal with rabies, or if the rabies virus comes in contact with the moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes.


There are two ways that rabies symptoms appear, called “dumb” and “furious”. Both can cause abnormal behavior prior to death.

Dumb Rabies:

  • animals may show initial signs of paralysis such as abnormal facial expressions, drooping head, sagging jaw, or paralyzed hind limbs.

  • some animals may become depressed and retreat to isolated places.

  • wild animals, especially skunks, may lose their fear of humans.

  • no "mad" period 


Furious Rabies:

  • frothing at mouth and biting at anything

  • animals may show extreme excitement and aggression.

  • animals may gnaw and bite their own limbs.

  • animals may attack stationary things or other animals.

  • bouts of furious rabies usually alternate with periods of depression.


The time between exposure to the virus and the onset of symptoms can range from about two weeks to several months. The rabies virus can be found in animal saliva days before any obvious symptoms develop. However, all animals that have the virus will develop symptoms and eventually die of the disease.

Strains of Rabies
At one time, Ontario was known as the ‘Rabies Capital of North America’ due to the high number of rabid animals reported. Since 1992, the number of rabies cases has declined. The primary concerns in Ontario are with terrestrial rabies (Arctic fox strain and mid-Atlantic raccoon strain) and to a lesser degree, bat strains.

Arctic Fox Strain
This strain of rabies invaded southern Ontario between 1954 and 1959 from northern Ontario and Quebec. In northern Ontario, the disease disappeared in 1972 but reappeared in 1989. It was eliminated from southeastern Ontario, but still persists in certain areas across southwestern Ontario.

Raccoon Strain
This strain of rabies (mid-Atlantic) was first reported in Florida in 1947, remained in the southeastern coastal parts of the USA until 1977, and then began to rapidly spread northward. It entered Ontario in July 1999. It was first discovered in a juvenile raccoon found dead in a dog kennel, just northwest of Prescott. To date (May 02, 2003), 118 cases have been reported in this same area. Wolfe Island near Kingston was held at six cases during December 1999 and January 2000, and has been rabies free for more than two years.

Bat Strains
These strains of rabies were first diagnosed in Ontario in 1961. There are eight species of bats in Ontario, all of which have their own strain of the disease, but the most common are Little Brown bat, Big Brown bat, and Silver-haired bat. Although bats are the most widely distributed mammal, less than 2% of bats submitted for testing have rabies (2% of all bats acting strangely, dead, or have possibly bitten a human or pet). In the overall population, this percentage would be much lower.

Role of the Ministry of Natural Resources in rabies management

The role of MNR's Rabies Research and Development Unit is to manage and research rabies in wildlife. They have focused on two means of controlling rabies: aerial baiting and TVR (trap-vaccinate-release). Aerial baiting consists of dropping specially prepared baits from airplanes or helicopters in areas that have a high incidence of terrestrial rabies. Scavenging fox consume the bait and get a dose of vaccination. The TVR program is used to immunize raccoons along international borders and in a rabies high-risk zone, in an attempt to prevent the disease from spreading or becoming established in Ontario. The MNR is also a leading agency in the research of this deadly disease. From studies of wildlife movement and genetics to vaccine and bait development, the MNR ensures that its programs are based on the best science available.

Treatment for Humans against Rabies

All people who are knowingly exposed to rabies or (bitten or scratched by) an animal suspected of having rabies must be treated immediately. This treatment usually consists of a series five injections given over a one-month period. The treatment is safe and effective, though reportedly painful.

For further information:

Ministry of Health Information Line, toll-free, 1-888-668-4636.
In Toronto, call (416) 327-0427.
Local (North Bay):
Ministry of Natural Resources
(705) 755-1551
More Information

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