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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 276; doi:10.3390/ijerph13030276

Backcountry Travel Emergencies in Arctic Canada: A Pilot Study in Public Health Surveillance

1
Institute for Circumpolar Health Research, Yellowknife, NT X1A 3X7, Canada
2
Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre, Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0, Canada
3
Labrador Institute, Memorial University, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL A0P 1E0, Canada
4
School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 1C9, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 10 December 2015 / Revised: 25 February 2016 / Accepted: 29 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
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Abstract

Residents in the Canadian Arctic regularly travel in remote, backcountry areas. This can pose risks for injuries and death, and create challenges for emergency responders and health systems. We aimed to describe the extent and characteristics of media-reported backcountry travel emergencies in two Northern Canadian territories (Nunavut and Northwest Territories). A case-series of all known incidents between 2004 and 2013 was established by identifying events in an online search of two media outlets, Nunatsiaq News and Northern News Services. We identified 121 incidents; these most commonly involved young men, and death occurred in just over 25% of cases. The territories differed in the seasonal patterns. News media provides a partial source of data to estimate the extent and characteristics of backcountry emergencies. This information is needed to improve emergency preparedness and health system responsiveness in the Arctic. View Full-Text
Keywords: Canada; arctic regions; Indigenous; aboriginal; rural health; search and rescue; transportation Canada; arctic regions; Indigenous; aboriginal; rural health; search and rescue; transportation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Young, S.K.; Tabish, T.B.; Pollock, N.J.; Young, T.K. Backcountry Travel Emergencies in Arctic Canada: A Pilot Study in Public Health Surveillance. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 276.

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