Rattlesnakes are a federally protected species and not as venomous and some people think (BC Wildfire Services/Facebook)

Rattlesnakes are a federally protected species and not as venomous and some people think (BC Wildfire Services/Facebook)

BC Wildfire crews get a lesson in dealing with rattlesnakes in the South Okanagan

BC Wildfire Services took part in a rattlesnake workshop earlier in August

B.C. wildfire crews underwent training on dealing with rattlesnakes last week, including how to properly identify and protect themselves.

Rattlesnakes are among the most venomous animals in western Canada, however, they aren’t anything to freak out about says Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre event coordinator Barb Sabyan.

“Most healthy people will survive rattlesnake bites,” Sabyan said, “It in no way helps to remind yourself that it might be horrible, you are very likely to survive it.”

The training, which took place on Aug. 13, taught fire crews how to avoid snakes and what to do in order to mitigate any potential danger.

Rattlesnakes aren’t the only species the crews were introduced to, the cultural centre also brought the non-venomous gopher snake which is commonly mistaken for its venomous cousin.

READ MORE: Wild gopher snakes aren’t pets: Vernon conservation officer

The best way to deal with encountering a rattlesnake is to stay calm and give it space. Rattlesnake’s attack range is around half its body length, so staying at a distance is the safest way to avoid them.

In the case of a bite, Sabyan said remaining calm and calling 911 is the first step.

Mark where the bite is and make sure to track where the venom goes in the body as it leaves a visible trail of swelling and discolouration.

Tourniquets and tight clothes should be avoided at all costs, as isolating or restricting the venom can cause more damage than letting it travel freely.

READ MORE: Penticton man has close encounters with massive snakes twice in one week


@claytonwhitelaw
clayton.whitelaw@bpdigital.ca

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B.C. Wildfires 2021