Nova Scotians are being encouraged to focus on ways to prevent falls in their homes and communities. Health Minister Angus MacIsaac signed a proclamation today, Nov. 22, at Province House on behalf of Premier John Hamm, declaring Nov. 22 Falls Prevention Day. Each year, one in three Nova Scotians over the age of 65 experience a fall. Each fall can be prevented. “It is accepted that nearly all injuries are preventable,” said Mr. MacIsaac. “Falls among seniors are serious injuries that many people are not aware of, and that’s what makes it so dangerous. By being aware of the risks and making changes to our homes and communities, we will all be safer.” Small steps can increase safety and prevent falls. These steps include: removing throw rugs and loose carpet from homes, businesses, or community centres; ensuring walkways are level, clear and well lit; and making sure public buildings have easily accessible steps and handrails. “We are all susceptible to injury due to falls, but our seniors are especially vulnerable,” said Rodney MacDonald, Minister of Health Promotion. “By becoming aware of safety tips, and by keeping healthy, we can drastically reduce our chances of becoming injured.” Preventing falls is a priority of Nova Scotia Health Promotion’s injury prevention strategy. In 2003, the strategy provided $300,000 over three years to the Community Links Preventing Falls Together initiative. Since then, 12 regional falls prevention coalitions have been established throughout the province. These coalitions work to provide communities with the information and tools needed to address falls and prevent fall-related injuries. The coalitions organize tai chi classes for seniors and displays at health and seniors’ fairs,, and work with housing authorities and fire departments to implement safety measures. Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada with a government-funded and supported injury prevention strategy.