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Friday, May 14, 2021

Raising awareness of White Cane Day

Guide Dogs Australia is launching a new campaign ahead of International White Cane Day on 15 October to show members of the community what they ‘cane do’ to help people with a white cane navigate public spaces safely and independently.

The ‘Cane Do’ campaign launch comes after a survey of Guide Dogs Australia clients, which showed almost two-thirds (64%) of people who use white canes had been “grabbed or handled” by a member of the public when they hadn’t asked for help.

A similar number (67%) reported that when out in the community, people would address their sighted companions instead of them directly.

Team Manager of Guide Dogs ACT/NSW’s Canberra Office, Chace Richardson, said the most simple, effective and helpful thing you can do is to directly ask a person using a white cane if they require assistance, before trying to help.

“More than three-quarters of Guide Dogs clients surveyed say this is their preferred and the best way members of the public can assist them,” Mr Richardson said.

“By grabbing a person with a white cane by the arm to help them onto public transport or across the road – without their consent or prior knowledge – you can disorient them or break the concentration they are using to follow a path.”

Here are five top things that you ‘Cane Do’: ask the person using a white cane if they would like assistance and, if so, how?; if you see a person with a white cane, be aware and give them space to navigate; don’t be offended if a person with a white cane declines your offer of help – they may simply be confidently travelling independently or concentrating; alert the person with a white cane if they are in any immediate danger; report all hazards in public spaces to your local council.

For more information about what you ‘Cane Do’, visit guidedogsaustralia.com.au

Police target intersections

ACT Policing are targeting road safety at intersections during October, urging road users to take extra care.

Approximately half of all reported collisions in Canberra occur at intersections, and Traffic Operations Officer in Charge, Acting Station Sergeant David Wills said Canberrans need to pay more attention.

“With one in two collisions occurring around intersections in the ACT we all need to slow down, be patient, be considerate of other road users but, most importantly, obey the road rules,” he said.

“When travelling through an intersection it may be common sense to follow the road rules but the number of collisions shows there are too many drivers who still just don’t get it.

“Everybody has seen other road users pushing the boundaries or breaking the road rules around intersections. There is no excuse for driving in this manner and it is exactly this type of road user we will be targeting during October.”

ACT Policing have issued 959 infringements and 688 cautions to people breaking road rules around intersections so far this year. The most common notices are for not stopping at a stop sign, disobeying a no right turn sign and not stopping at a red light.

Be alert to asthma symptoms

Asthma Australia has issued advice to Australians living with asthma, urging them to be vigilant with treatment as allergy and thunderstorm season has now begun.

Asthma Australia’s annual asthma and allergy campaign encourages those with asthma who are experiencing hay fever symptoms to seek medical advice from their GP or pharmacist and keep abreast of changes in weather conditions.

Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman said people need to pay close attention to their asthma and allergies.

“At least 80% of people with asthma also have hay fever (or allergic rhinitis),” she said. “Because hay fever and asthma can be triggered by the same pollen allergens, people with hay fever who experience symptoms of coughing or wheezing could also be experiencing symptoms of asthma.

“Unfortunately, research shows the presence of hay fever is associated with worse asthma control in both children and adults.”

A survey conducted by Asthma Australia showed 75% of respondents with asthma were aware hay fever could make asthma harder to control, however 41% of these people had never spoken to a GP regarding symptoms and treatments.

Ms Goldman said seeking information on pollen and weather conditions is another way to be prepared.

“We are urging people with symptoms to be vigilant about managing their asthma and hay fever in accordance with their Asthma Action Plan and Hay Fever Treatment Plan, and to see their GP for a review if they haven’t done so recently.”

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