KINTORE, ON – The 3rd Annual Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in Oxford County was held on June 12, at AJ Baker Public School in Kintore. Progressive Agriculture Safety Days (PAF), founded in 1995, are held annually across North America, coordinated by local communities looking to bring attention to agricultural safety among rural youth.
“They let us touch some of the equipment,” said Lucas, a Grade 4 student at AJ Baker. “They taught us everything you need to know about safety with tractors, ATVs, lawnmowers and roads”.
Andrew, a Grade 4 student added, “I learned that a lawnmower has already gone around 40 times before you can even pull your hand away from the blades. Never go near the blades of a lawnmower.”
With children spending time in and around agricultural equipment, exposing them to the potential dangers is an essential step in keeping children and their families’ safe on the farm. Though farm safety begins in the home, agricultural safety days such as this, allow children to have additional exposure to interactive displays that would not be possible without organized events, such as those sponsored by PAF.
Kaitlin, a Grade 8 student at AJ Baker said “It was nice that they had a visual representation of what they were talking about.”
“They actually had tractors,” Ella, a Grade 5 student added. “Chemical lookalikes taught me to be safe around chemicals.”
According to a 2013 report from Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR), an average of 13 children die each year as a result of agricultural related incidents across the country. When there’s work to be done on the farm and equipment is rolling, it can be easy to lose track of young children who may be playing nearby. As a result of this, CAIR reports that 80% of agricultural fatalities involving children includes a victim who was not performing farm tasks, killed by someone who was engaged in agricultural work – 72% of those victims being the child of the farm operator.
These alarming statistics are exactly what events such as Progressive Agriculture Safety Days aim to change. The vision of PAF is that “no child would become ill, injured or die from farm, ranch and rural activities”.
Marian Sterk and the Embro & Zorra Agricultural Society brought Progressive Agriculture Safety Days to Zorra Highland Park Public School in 2016, Thamesford Public School in 2017, and now AJ Baker Public School in 2018, providing students throughout Oxford County essential training to keep themselves safe on the farm and in the community, as well as the knowledge and skills necessary to handle emergency situations should they arise.
This year’s event brought over 140 students from grades Kindergarten through Grade 8, and featured age appropriate stations for groups to experience safety demonstrations on topics, including: tractors and other agricultural equipment, trains, electricity, chemicals, roads, bikes, water, using AEDs, calling 9-1-1, and more.
The fire safety station was well-received by students, including Erin, a Grade 7 student at AJ Baker who said, “I liked how we could do hands-on stuff like using fire extinguishers to put out real flames.”
The CPR and AED station was also enjoyed by students, including Janneke, a Grade 8 student who said, “I learned how to do CPR on the mannequin.”
Abby, a Grade 4 student added “You actually got to learn to use an AED.”
In 2019, the 4th Annual Progressive Agriculture Day of Oxford County will take place at Hickson Central Public School, where a new set of students will be exposed to these important safety demonstrations.
“We’re thrilled with how this year’s event went. The support of the community was incredible, and the reactions of students throughout the day was evidence the event would have a lasting effect,” said Marian Sterk, President of Embro & Zorra Agricultural Society. “We look forward to next year’s event and all of those to follow. It’s a great cause and a rewarding event for all involved.”
Events such as this would not be possible without the support of school staff and dedicated volunteers. This year’s event utilized the support of a committed planning committee and additional parent volunteers, totaling nearly 70 volunteers for the day of execution. A special thank-you to all of those involved, for making this day possible.
If you would like to bring a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day to your community, visit progressiveag.org. Applications are due by July 15 each year for a safety day to be conducted the following calendar year.Source : progressiveag