CASSTOWN — Generally when you think of teaching youth safety, we often think about things such as crossing at crosswalks, not to run with knives, or “stranger danger.” But there are other areas of safety to consider when you live in a farming community.
The Miami East School district observed Farm Safety Week this week, dedicating each day to enlightening students about safety precautions that need to be taken whether they are working in agriculture, or near farmers and equipment.
Second graders were amazed by the different safety stations set up by junior and senior FFA members on Thursday. The younglings were empowered by their older mentors in grain, chemical, rural roadway, equipment, and plant safety.
“I feel like looking at the kids, you could just see that they kind of got it,” said Emma Linn, junior FFA member. “(It was) definitely a very positive experience. When I was in second grade, I liked the big kids coming down and teaching me things, because it’s like, ‘Oh, you need to listen to them, I think they know what they are talking about.’”
“I like working with the younger students … they surprise you with the knowledge that they know,” said Katie Bodenmiller, junior FFA member. “The fact that we are the big kids now is kind of cool, because I remember doing this when we were little.”
The students came up with the different safety stations based off what was done in previous years, and what students who live on farms experience daily. Bodenmiller is one of them.
“I’ve grown up on a farm and the kind of things I remember … I knew for sure what I was not to do,” Bodenmiller said.
“I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I remember (farm safety day) from second grade and was kind of awed by what they were demonstrating,” Linn said.
Tuesday was seatbelt awareness day. Drivers coming onto campus were checked to see if they were wearing a seatbelt. The reward for students wearing their seatbelts was a Smarties candy and those who were not – if you haven’t guessed — received a DumDum, and were requested to put their seatbelt on immediately.
As a result, most students wore their seatbelts. There were over 55 drivers who were checked and only 15.8 percent did not wear a seatbelt, which was down from last year’s result of 17.7 percent.
Students with tractors drove their tractors to school on Wednesday during a two-hour delay for staff development. Because of the delay, the Drive Your Tractor to School Day took place that day between 9 a.m. and 9:35 a.m. Doing this brought awareness to the community on farmers who use the roads during harvest season. During this time, farmers share the road with motorists with slow equipment and can often lead to crash incidents.
Next week is National Farm Safety and Health Week, which was first officially recognized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. The U.S. Department of Labor designates agriculture as the most dangerous industry to be in. Between 2003 and 2011, 5,816 agricultural workers died from work-related injuries in the U.S., with a fatality rate of 24.9 deaths per 100,000, while the fatality rate for all workers was 3.5.
Reach reporter Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.