As all Canadians know, fall can be cold! Placer miners in the Cassiar gold rush certainly found this out: gold commissioner John Howe Sullivan, in his report to the minister of mines in January 1875, recounted that, “The weather is, and has been, extremely cold since the 10th November, as the register of the Thermometer will testify.” Indeed on November 10, 1874, the temperature was -2º F (-19º C).
Although today’s explorers are likely better equipped than Commissioner Sullivan was, it’s still important to take precautions during the fall; carbon monoxide and fire are particular hazards as heaters are used more frequently. Following are some key tips for staying safe as the air turns cooler. For full details, read the Fire Hazards and Prevention section of the “Camp Life” chapter of Safety Guidelines for Mineral Exploration in Western Canada (pages 52 through 58 of the fifth edition).
- Equip each tent/building/separate room with a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. Install a propane detector if propane is used. Install all detectors according to manufacturers’ recommendations to ensure adequate protection.
- Be aware of dangers from:
- Flammable items and debris – maintain a clean camp. »» Flammable liquids – store away from living and working quarters and overhanging trees.
- Lanterns, flares and mosquito coils.
- Take extra caution with heated tents.
- Place metal baking sheets under heaters. This can protect the wooden floor from the heat and catch any drips. Space heaters and water heaters should be placed on metal stands.
- Place stove lighting instructions in the tents and inform all tenants how to use them safely.
- Lanterns should be hung so that they are not easily dislodged (for optimum safety, upgrade to LED or battery-powered products).
Have a safe day, every day!
Did you know? AME BC has had its Environmental Guiding Principles in place since 2009 (visit amebc.ca to view a copy); as of September 2014, the Health & Safety Committee will be renamed the AME BC Environment, Health & Safety Committee to provide initiatives, policies, events and tools to further these principles.