Building Communities Free from Bullying

Safety in the Community Summer 2005 Building Communities Free from Bullying I n a community survey carried out by Safer Calgary in April 2004, the ...
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Safety in the Community Summer 2005

Building Communities Free from Bullying


n a community survey carried out by Safer Calgary in April 2004, the most prominent concern relating to crime and violence, expressed by eight out of ten Calgarians, was bullying. The Safer Calgary Coalition is trying to address this concern through public education about how to handle such incidents.

The summer months are fast approaching and our children will soon be heading out to local playgrounds, swimming pools and summer camps where they’ll have the chance to play with their friends, mingle with potential friends and indulge in the wonder that is childhood. We’ll send them off equipped with sunblock, and maybe a hat, with instructions to wear them. We do as much as we can to protect our kids from all that might harm them. The experience of bullying falls into that category. Bullying is nothing new. It’s just that

within recent years, the frequency and severity of bullying incidents has gained the attention of the media. We’re now more aware than ever of the consequences to our children and our communities brought about by bullying behaviour. Bullying goes beyond mere one-off incidents of horseplay or good-natured teasing that make up the fare of regular kids growing up. It involves the assertion of power through aggression and intimidation. Those who bully others do so as a way to acquire power over their victims physically, emotionally and socially.


Continued on back cover A publication produced by Safer Calgary in partnership with

Water Fun Safe Cycling


Safety i n the Com m uni ty

Calgary's Water Fun is I

t’s a commonly held idea around town that Calgary is as dry as a bone. But, while we certainly are land-locked, and it’s true that the nearest ocean is 800 miles away, the sheer quantity of water within the city limits would surprise many water lovers. The Glenmore Reservoir, community man-made lakes, waterparks, rivers, canals, streams and wet ponds cover a substantial portion of Calgary’s land mass and, in many cases, provide excellent opportunities for family fun year round. With potential water recreation spots hiding in every quadrant of the city, the need for good water safety education is obvious. National statistics confirm this. According to the Canadian Red Cross, between

1991 and 2000 drowning was the fourth most common cause of death by unintentional injury in Canada, and it was the leading cause of death for recreational and sporting activities. To ensure all Calgarians enjoy our many waterways and water bodies safely, a number of City and outside agencies came together in 2001 under the name of Water Safety Partners. The partners work to prevent water-related injury and death in Calgary through risk assessment, risk management and public education. According to Water Safety Partners, the best way to enjoy safe water recreation in Calgary is to get to know the water bodies in your community, and then learn how to enjoy them safely.

Water safety tips ■

Wear a lifejacket and carry a complete emergency kit at all times on the water.

Always keep children within arm’s reach. Remember, adequate supervision is the greatest factor in keeping children safe.

Water and alcohol don’t mix. Leave alcohol on the shoreline until your time in and on the water is over.

Take smart risks. Don’t swim alone or in unsupervised areas, and always take care not to dive into shallow water.

Obey signs on all waterways and water bodies, especially those indicating “No Swimming” and “No Skating”.

Stay off the ice on all rivers, lakes, ponds and streams. Ice is never predictable. Use only controlled and maintained ice surfaces for winter recreation.

Control water hazards at home. Cover hot tubs and rain barrels, lock gates around ponds and built-in pools, and store buckets and wading pools upside down. Model water-safe behaviour around children in your care. Children and their caregivers should receive swimming lessons. Take first aid and CPR courses so you’ll be ready if the unexpected should occur.

Home and backyard caution Each summer, backyards buzz with the sound of children enjoying sprinklers, outdoor pools or simply enjoying the weather. It’s important to remember that drownings occur in almost every imaginable setting, especially among children. With this in mind, it’s important to recognize possible water hazards around the home including: tubs, toilets, sinks, swimming or wading

pools, rain barrels, ponds and other decorative water features. For safety, store pails and wading pools upside down; fence outdoor pools; and cover rain barrels and hot tubs when they are not in use. Backyard ponds in particular have become a popular garden feature in recent years. Ponds should be properly fenced and access should be monitored. One

way to increase the safety of your pond is to completely fill it with rocks so the water has no depth. Children enjoy water play yearround in the bathtub. The important thing to remember is to never walk away from young children while they are in the bath. A surprising number of children under five drown in their own bathtubs, and in most cases, these tragedies occur when the supervising adult’s attention is diverted for only a moment.

Community water adventures Almost every community in the city contains a number of water bodies— from wading ponds and natural streams to constructed wetlands, wet ponds, and dry ponds. In fact, there are now 67 wet ponds and close to a dozen man-made lakes and water parks within the city limits. Calgary’s man-made lakes provide plenty of appropriate summer water fun for those who can access them. On the other hand, the water bodies that are part of the city’s wastewater system are never ideal for recreation. Wet ponds, dry ponds and storm water outfalls often seem like inviting places to play and explore, but since water can flow into and be discharged from these areas without warning, people and pets nearby may be in danger. Confusing the situation further, wet ponds have been used as focal points in some new communities, leading home owners to believe they are safe. In fact, city policy states that citizens should never have contact with wet pond water, including during the winter when it is frozen over. The concern is that wet pond water isn’t clean in the summer and it doesn’t freeze consistently in the winter, making it unsafe for recreation year round. Calgary’s 49 dry ponds present a different kind of concern. While wet ponds hold water all the time, dry ponds are constructed as depressions on playgrounds and school yards and are designed to hold water during and after heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt to avoid flooding in the community. The rest of the time, dry ponds may serve a second purpose as sports fields or play areas. People are welcome to enjoy them in dry weather, but need to stay away during and after wet weather periods. To get the most out of the water recreation areas in your neighbourhood, take time to identify them, know where caution is important, and educate your children about water safety.

Recreation growth New man-made lakes and recreation facilities will continue to pop up in Calgary’s new communities as time goes on, providing more opportunities for water enjoyment. For example, the Parks Foundation is now implementing a plan to create a new river park on the Bow River at the site of the weir. Modifications to the weir will allow safe passage for water recreation enthusiasts while continuing to divert water for irrigation. Water Safety Partners will continue to develop initiatives to prevent water-related injury and death on local waterways and water bodies. To learn more about Water Safety Partners visit www.

A publication A publication produced produced by Safer by Safer Calgary Calgary in partnership in partnership withwith


Safety i n the Com m uni ty

Unlimited City hot spots Many local families don’t let a season go by without spending a hot summer afternoon floating down the Bow River. The Elbow River, Glenmore Reservoir and irrigation canals are also frequently used for recreation during the summer months. Add to that the numerous local recreation facilities with pools and wading ponds and you’ll find that Calgary offers plenty of opportunity for water recreation. Important things to consider before you head out for fun on our local waterways and water bodies are the timing of your trip and the safety gear you take along. To ensure your summer fun doesn’t turn into a tragic event, don’t

plan to float on the Bow or Elbow rivers early in the season. During May and June especially, the rivers are swollen with mountain run-off and it’s easy to underestimate how fast the water is flowing, and how deep and cold it is. Typically, July and August provide plenty of safe opportunities to enjoy Calgary’s rivers. However, with the unusual conditions this year, it is strongly recommended that you stay off the Bow and Elbow Rivers until conditions return to normal. When you do head out, make sure you carry—and wear—the correct safety gear. City bylaws state that citizens should always wear a properly fitted lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) on local waterways and water bodies. In addition to a lifejacket, Canadian law requires every

by Robin Hope-Galey, Water Safety Partners

floating watercraft (including kayaks, canoes and rafts) to have on board an emergency kit containing: • A bailing device to remove water from inside the watercraft. • A paddle or oar to help you control your craft. • A sound signalling device to use for navigation, alert other crafts of your approach, or signal for assistance. • A buoyant heaving line or towing line for rescue purposes or to pull your craft to safety. • A navigation light or watertight flashlight. Small, portable emergency kits that contain everything you need can be purchased inexpensively from local sporting goods retailers.

Find Info on Water Quality in Calgary Drinking Water ■

Surface Water

City of Calgary Waterworks:

Calgary Health Region Environmental Health

Water Safety Partners include: Alberta Environment, Calgary Community Man-made Lakes, Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Red

Alberta Environment Water

Cross, Lifesaving Society, and the following City of Calgary agencies: Bylaw Services, Calgary Fire Department, Calgary Police Service,

Calgary Health Region Environmental Health

Community Strategies - Safer City Initiative, Emergency Medical Services, Recreation, and Wastewater.

Safe Cycling in the City I

t’s fun. It’s fast. It’s trendy. Bicycling is an increasingly popular activity for Calgarians of all ages. This comes as no surprise as there really is no better way to get from point A to point B fast while improving one’s personal health and well-being. Whether it’s for the commute to work, biking to get into shape or simply for recreation,

Calgarians have access to over 580 kilometres of City-maintained pathways, which is unparalleled anywhere in North America. In addition to these pathways that run along the river and creek valleys as well as throughout every community, there are over 260 kilometres of on-street bicycle routes (bikeways) to explore.

by Christoph Beck, The Calgary Health Region & Harold Pinel, Pathway Safety - The City of Calgary

Get trained Before heading out it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with your bike and your anticipated bike route. Local organisations such as Canada Olympic Park offer training for trail-eager mountain-bikers and, for the casual cyclists, the Elbow Valley Cycle Club offers courses on how to better handle their bikes. There are three levels of Canadian Cycling Association Can-Bike Skill workshops that cater to the novice, the commuter and to the instructor candidate respectively. Can-Bike Level 1 certification is also available through the City of Calgary’s summer recreation program. The summer bicycle program offered by the Calgary Safety Council is specifically designed for children ages 4–12. It takes place at Safety City, an actual miniature city, complete with streets, traffic lights and classrooms. When cycling on roadways, it is important to remember that bicycles are considered vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities as any other road user.

Follow these basic rules: • Obey traffic signs and follow all road rules. • Never ride a bicycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. • Young cyclists are encouraged to walk their bikes across busy intersections. • Stop, look left, right and left again before entering traffic (roads, driveways, sidewalks, alleys or parking lots). • Stay on the right-hand side of the road and ride in the same direction as traffic. • Shoulder check every time you move out to turn or pass and always use your hand signals. • Always ride single file. • Use lights and reflectors at night Continued on page four A publication produced by Safer Calgary in partnership with


Safety i n the Com m uni ty

Safe Cycling in the City Continued from page three

Wear the gear

Fitting a bicycle helmet

If you treasure your brain, wear a bike helmet—it’s the law in Alberta if you’re under 18 and it’s a smart thing to do at any age. Bike helmets protect your head and all of its contents in the event of a crash. Helmets work by cushioning the head against impact and spreading the energy forces across the whole area of the skull. You should always wear a helmet, even on short rides. Many serious bike crashes happen on quiet streets close to home. The majority of bike mishaps do not involve motor vehicles: they happen when a cyclist loses control of their bike and falls. Make sure your helmet meets approved helmet safety standards (e.g., CSA, Snell, ASTM— check the sticker located on the inside of your helmet) and that it fits—it should be snug and level on your head. Positive role modeling helps to ensure that children will wear their helmets so adults should always wear one too. In addition to a helmet, consider wearing bright or reflective clothing which will make it easier for others to see you; cycling gloves to improve your grip on the handlebars, and proper, supportive footwear. Now you’re ready to roll! Get out there and enjoy being active!

Before buying a bicycle helmet, measure the head circumference at the eyebrow level and find a helmet that is made for that size of head. Different brands of helmets fit different shaped heads. Step 1: Place the helmet on the head and make sure it is level from front to back. Step 2: The helmet must sit 1–2 finger widths (approx. 3 cm) above the eyebrows. Step 3: Make sure the helmet fits snugly, by adding or removing sizing pads if necessary. The helmet should not move when the cyclist nods or shakes his/her head. Step 4: Adjust the straps to form a “V” just below and in front of the earlobes. Step 5: Do up the chinstrap. Step 6: Adjust the chinstrap so that you can only fit the width of one finger in between the cyclist’s chin and the chinstrap. Step 7: Make sure that the helmet can only be removed by undoing the chin straps. A bicycle helmet must not be worn with a baseball cap underneath—a cap could interfere with your helmet’s effectiveness on impact.

Helmet replacement ■

Replace your helmet every 5 years even if it hasn’t been in a crash. UV rays can weaken your helmet. A helmet that has been in a crash must be replaced even if it does not appear to be damaged.

Look First: The Right Equipment

Pathway safety tips ■

The speed limit is 20 km/h unless otherwise posted.

All dogs must be on a leash not to exceed 2 metres when on the pathway, even in all off-leash areas, except Southland Park.

You can be fined for cycling, in-line skating or skateboarding with a leashed dog.

Give an audible signal when passing others.

Keep to the right of the pathway, except when passing.

Where twinned sections of pathway exist, use the appropriate path—obey all signs.

Avoid using earphones on the pathway.

Be alert. Watch for slippery sections covered by ice, loose gravel or silt.

Report any unsafe pathway conditions to the City by phoning 3-1-1. Be as specific as possible when detailing the location and nature of the problem.

A safe bike, first and foremost, should fit you. You should be able to touch the ground with your feet while seated, and the handle bars should be within easy reach. Visit your local bike shop if you’re unsure about a proper fit. A safe bike must have a bell or a horn and when cycling at night, the bike must be equipped with at least one headlamp (but not more than two), one red tail lamp and at least one red reflector mounted on the rear of the bicycle. Has anyone ever told you that a

squeaky chain is not cool? A wellmaintained bicycle will improve your riding pleasure and will keep you safer on the road. Lube and tune your bike when it comes out of winter hibernation and maintain it regularly throughout the season. Before heading out for a ride, always conduct an ABC Quick Check: · Air: firm tires. · Brakes: clean, working properly. · Chain: tight, well-lubricated.

Resources General ■ Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation: ■ Safe Kids Canada: ■ Calgary Health Region: ■ City of Calgary Transportation: Helmet safety ■ Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute: ■ Alberta Helmet Law FAQ: ■ Calgary Fire Department:

Bicycle training ■ Elbow Valley Cycle Club: ■ Canada Olympic Park: ■ City of Calgary Recreation: ■ Calgary Safety Council: Pathway safety ■ City of Calgary Parks: ■ City of Calgary Bylaws: Winter cycling ■ Icebike: A publication produced by Safer Calgary in partnership with

Safety in the Community Continued from front cover

behaviour begins with the adults and caregivers who guide their social Often, they want people to look up to them and emotional development. It is the and they try to achieve this by acting tough and lowering the status of others. Much of the responsibility of every adult to set the bullying that goes on happens in public places standards and expectations for positive social behaviour and to model it. Children who like playgrounds and school yards where it experience this approach from the adults can be readily reinforced by an audience. Sadly, the bully’s plan often works. Studies in their world develop a healthy sense of have shown that about 20 per cent of the time, self worth and the confidence they need to avoid being the target of, or the instigator of, peers actively reinforce bullying by either bullying behaviour. When bullying behaviour physically or verbally joining in. The same does happen, the children involved need studies indicate that in over half of all to be supported to report it and to have bullying incidents, observers reinforce the bully by watching but not joining in. In only 25 adult intervention to stop the intimidation if needed. Clear messages must be reinforced per cent of the incidents did peers intervene by adults about the rules for appropriate on behalf of the victim. behaviour and alternatives taught for dealing As public as it can be, bullying is also with confl ict. As a society, we need not accept somewhat of an underground activity. the phenomenon of bullying as some kind of Children who report having experienced rite of passage. While realistically we cannot bullying behaviour first hand often express expect to eliminate all bullying from the feelings of humiliation and loneliness. playgrounds, school yards or street corners, Long term difficulties, including a general we can create a safer, healthier and more sense of insecurity, depression and other caring community through raising awareness mental health problems, can accompany the and taking action. We can exercise a zerovictims of bullying behaviour well into their tolerance approach towards bullying as a first adulthood. That having been said, many step and then work together to progressively children do not report bullying incidents for strengthen the community and school fear of retaliation, or out of concern that no environments our children experience. As one will believe them, or that they will cause members of the community, we all have a their parents worry. part to play. Protecting children from bullying

If you have any comments or feedback please contact us: Phone: 3-1-1 Email: [email protected] Web: Pick up additional copies at various City facilities, AMA Centres, cafés, malls and community associations. A publication produced by Safer Calgary in partnership with