Saskatoon partnership might be out locally for annual needle cleanup – Saskatoon
With the spring here, snow slowly begins to melt away and needles that were once hidden are uncovered.
The Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) have partnered to do the annual community needle cleanup. The SFD collects and disposes of more than 11,000 needles each year. Discarded hypodermic needles are a concern at any time of the year, but spring poses a particular threat.
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The SFD reminds residents to follow safe pickup practices and disposal when discarding needles.
“We retrieve needles on all public spaces within the community,” said SFD Chief Morgan Hackl. “We’re seeing it trending up year over year.… Our business around needle pickups has gone up 80 per cent since 2018. I wish we didn’t have this so prevalent in our community but we do.”
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Some of the safe pickup practices and disposal are to not recap the needle; wear garden, work or medical gloves; use tweezers, pliers or tongs to pick up by the end that is not the sharp end; and keep the needle away from your body. For disposal, place the needle with the sharp end first into a hard container that needles cannot poke through and fill the container no more than three-quarters full. Secure the container lid tightly and seal with tape. Finally, wash your hands with soap and water.
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But if you do have a needle and do not wish to dispose of it, the SFD encourages people to call them.
“Call the fire department … and we will send out either an engine in the area or a two-person crew to retrieve the needle,” said Hackl.
If you are not comfortable handling or disposing of a needle on public property, call the SFD (306) 975-3030 or the Public Health Services Saskatoon (306) 655-4444
For more information, visit saskatoon.ca/needlesafe.
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