Injury Prevention

Before you read any further, shut your eyes for a moment and ask yourself: During my life time what have I done to prevent injury at home, at work and in my community?

Now open your eyes and read the following. You will have something more to think about. About a man named Francescutti and a City called Safety. And they have something in common!

Francescutti – who is he? He is Billy Graham of the church of injury prevention. What’s his mission? His mission is to prevent injury at home, on the roads, at work and everywhere.

Preventing injury is everybody’s business, according to Dr. Louis Francescutti, Chair of the Advisory Body for the newly established Alberta Center for Injury Control and Research. He was speaking at the Annual Meeting of the Safety City Society of Medicine Hat and District held at the Moose Lodge on Family Day.

A City called Safety – is a non-profit organization supported by the United Way, Palliser Health Authority, Methanex Corporation, CanCarb Ltd., Community Credit Union, Medicine Hat Maritimes Club and the Moose Lodge. Besides these major sponsors, there are numerous other contributors who keep the Society going.

But this is not enough, says Dorothy Patry in her annual report as Board Chair. More money is required to make real progress in reducing rates of injury in Medicine Hat and Alberta. Out of an annual budget of $80,000, about $50,000 is raised from bingo, casino, playhouse raffle and other fundraising activities.

The Safety City Society of Medicine Hat and District was established 19 years ago as a project of the Gas City Kiwanis. The Society’s goal is to reduce the incidents of predictable and preventable injuries and death to the children of Medicine Hat and the surrounding 200 km. radius.

Dr Francescutti said that Alberta has one of the worst injury rates in Canada. One way to prevent injury is to teach children at very early age before they pick up bad habits from adults who never had similar opportunity to learn about injury prevention.

He highly commended the work done by the Society and exhorted the government agencies and private corporations to pitch in more money. He said the government cutbacks are exhausting the volunteer force who cannot be expected to work for free all the time.

Safety City’s programs are aimed at Kindergarten to Grade 6 children. There are about 11 safety programs such as: helmet awareness, seatbelt safety, and traffic safety. Children are taught how to be safe at home, in a bus, in winter and when riding a bike.

Last year, 19,717 children had the benefit of these programs compared to 2600 in 1981. It is estimated that by year 2000, total expenditure for the Society will be $89,850.

Dr Francescutti urged the doctors to get involved in preventing injuries rather than just treating them. He urged the police to be more vigorous in enforcing speed limits and compliance at stop signs and traffic lights. He said the firehalls should be converted into injury prevention centers as the firefighters have done a good job in reducing the number of fires and have very few fire related calls.

He praised our hospital based ambulance service as a model to be followed by other cities in providing optimum use of paramedic services.

Dr Francescutti works as an Emergency Physician at Royal Alexander Hospital in Edmonton. He founded the Injury Prevention Center at the University of Alberta Hospitals where he is an Assistant Professor. He developed the award winning multimedia injury prevention program for teenagers called HEROES.

The Safety City is eager to have more donations and volunteers to help in the education of our future generation. Dorothy Patry believes that it is possible to make our city and the district a safer and happier place to raise our family. What a wonderful thought on a Family Day!

So the best thing we can do is to teach our children safe habits and support the good work done by Safety City of Medicine and District.

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