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Local fourth graders participate in Farm Safety Day

Fri, May 21st, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Jeff Eickoff works with a Fillmore County fourth grader on the Tug-of-War with grain. How much weight could she pull out if a person was stuck in grain? Photo by Kristi Ruen

Fourth graders from across Fillmore and Houston counties, 393 to be exact, have expanded their safety knowledge after their participation at Farm Safety Day Camp. On Tuesday, May 18, students from 12 schools enthusiastically descended upon the Mabel Steam Engine Grounds.

Students quickly learned that it didn't matter if they lived on a farm, in the country, or in town. They were going to be able to use something that they learned during the day and apply it if not immediately, sometime in the future.

While the day has its roots in agriculture, the overall feel of the camp is general safety which can be evidenced when looking at the variety of topics presented to the campers. The campers were divided into groups and rotated throughout the many stations during the day, each presentation lasting about 18 minutes.

First looking at topics emphasizing agriculture, Jerrold Tesmer explored PTO, or power takeoff safety. A "dummy" named Ralph got caught in the PTO to show just how dangerous they are.

Chris Miller and Dr. Lynn Aggen explained basic facts regarding livestock safety, and how to be safe around animals. Some campers were even given an opportunity to get close to a beef animal.

Tractor rollovers are more common in the rolling hills of Fillmore and Houston counties, and Germaine Davieson and Cynthie Washburn, along with Mabel Canton FFA Members Ryan Halverson, Justin Selnes and Justin Ward, explained to the students to have one seat and one rider and to go slowly on steep hills or to avoid them entirely.

Campers learned that at least four to five people in Minnesota die each year from drowning, and according to presenter Katie Winslow, grain is similar to water. "When you are in grain the more you move the further down you go and the more grain goes in your mouth." The campers did a tug-of-war with grain simulation to see how much they would be able to help if someone was indeed drowning in a bin of grain.

From eye to hand protection, types of fences, pulleys, chains, and even how to lift safely, campers in general farm safety learned many different topics. Presenters were Doug Lind, Kristi Ruen and Chris Troendle.

As earlier stated, many areas were general safety to which all campers, whether rural or urban can relate. Brad Pecinovsky from Tri-County Electric used Electric Liz and Neon Leon to demonstrate how to avoid being electrocuted. "It was really realistic and cool," explained Bailey Ruen a Lanesboro student. "I know I won't be touching wires if there is a storm and it falls down!"

Brenda Pohlman, from Fillmore Public Health, demonstrated the importance of seatbelts. She put an egg in a toy car, explaining to them the egg was their head. After crashing the car, she explained that without a seatbelt, your head would be in the condition of the crushed egg, not repairable.

ATVs are a draw for almost any fourth grader, so the ATV Safety crew of Emily, John, and John Clobes, Jr. held the attention of the campers as they discussed the importance of the correct helmets, clothing and training to operate and ATV. They also reminded campers to ride on trails not roads and the age requirements for ATVs.

Lawn mowing is a popular station that almost all students could relate to and presenters LeeAnn Howard and Kelly Wilkins emphasized keeping safety devices intact and one seat, one rider in their presentation.

Campers were also able to practice making 911 calls with Fillmore County dispatcher Mike Ask, using two simulator units. Using a scenario the camper selects, they can call to gain a comfort level that would be needed in a real emergency.

A highlight was the always impressive MedLink Air Helicopter from Gunderson Lutheran. Campers were able to tour the helicopter and talk with the flight crew. Mayo One was also scheduled to attend but unfortunately had calls.

Rounding out the impressive list of topics and presenters were: Mabel Ambulance, Mabel EMTs; Sun Safety, Caledonia FFA; Basic First Aid, Chatfield Ambulance EMT; Fire Safety, Mabel Fire Department;

While a good dose of farm safety and ag literacy was given at Farm Safety Day Camp, it was infused with general safety that any student can use. In fact, one teacher summarized her experience this way:

"This was my first time attending Farm Safety and I was very impressed with the organization and the topics that were presented. My first concern was, 'How does Farm Safety fit into our curriculum?' After seeing and hearing the presentations, I was convinced that all students should experience this so they learn how to be safe around any type of equipment, not just farm equipment. Thanks for a great day!"

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