Emergency service calls up 25 per cent in Muskoka
Emergency responders in Muskoka expect a busier summer than usual.
Paramedics anticipate a 25 per cent increase in calls after a noticeable spike over the last few months.
"We haven't seen the ebbs and flows," said Muskoka Paramedic Deputy Chief Stuart McKinnon. "it's been steady and higher than normal."
According to McKinnon, the summer is typically busy for emergency responders because of increased tourism.
But a growing population has paramedics concerned there will be more calls for service.
"It's no secret that a lot of people with the flexibility to work from home have chosen to come up to their seasonal property, or they've just chosen to move to areas like Muskoka," McKinnon added.
Paramedics average around 50 calls daily and reach 100 at their peak. McKinnon said they've hired additional staff to handle the increased demand.
"In the summer, we put on an additional day vehicle and night vehicle, so that takes an extra 8 full-time positions to staff."
Provincial police in cottage country are also feeling that impact.
"We welcome the increase in tourism, obviously," said Constable Adrian Woods, Bracebridge OPP. "But it does mean a significant increase in the population that comes through and with that we see a dramatic increase in calls."
Recreational activities play a significant part in the increased calls, with boating accidents being one of the biggest causes.
"We often see liquor being consumed on our vessels and it's a very dangerous practice. The last thing you want to see is a tragedy on our waterways," Woods added. "Safety is the number one priority. We far too often see situations where people are hurt or killed, and we like to do everything we can to prevent that."
Police encourage boaters to read the Transport Canada safe boating guide as an extra precaution before heading out on the water.
The OPP's marine program will run until the fall.