Nearly 500 youth attend farm safety camp
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 06/14/2012 2:56 PM
MABEL, Minn. — Elementary students from Houston and Fillmore counties learned about being safe during the 6th annual Fillmore-Houston Farm Safety Day Camp held last week in Mabel.
The camp includes presentations on basic first aid, fire extinguishers, using seat belts, lawn mower, ATV, livestock and general farm safety, calling 911, dangers of grain bin drowning, electrical safety and PTO safety. MedLink AIR from Gunderson Lutheran and the Mabel Ambulance crew attended in the afternoon.
Jerrold Tesmer, Extension educator in Fillmore and Houston counties, presented the PTO safety demonstration, with help from Nick Drinkall of the Mabel-Canton FFA.
Accidents involving farm equipment are major, Tesmer said. If a person gets stepped on by a horse, it will hurt but it likely won't be fatal.
With a power-take-off, "there's no minor injuries," Tesmer said. "If it does happen, it will be bad."
If a person comes into contact with a PTO shaft, it takes less than a second for death to occur.
He demonstrated with Ralph, the dummy, dressed in paper coveralls and stuffed with newspaper. As Drinkall started the tractor and turned on the PTO, Ralph's coveralls became wrapped around the PTO and newsprint littered the ground.
The best way to avoid a PTO accident is to stay away from it, Tesmer told the fourth graders. Never step over a rotating PTO. Before getting off a tractor, shut off the PTO, or shut off the tractor.
Tractor manufacturers have tried to help by installing shields and warning labels, but ultimately safety rests with individual actions, Tesmer said.
At the ATV safety station, Jared Barnes, a certified Department of Natural Resources ATV instructor, talked about being safe on four-wheelers. He told the students to always wear their helmet when riding and to ride a four-wheeler suited to their size.
He leads by example, always wearing a helmet, boots, goggles and long pants when he rides. He bought smaller machines for his children. The machines may cost more, but they have an excellent resale value, he said.
The importance of teaching ATV safety was illustrated by the number of students who raised their hand when asked if they had ever driven or rode on a four-wheeler. Somewhere around 90 percent raised their hand when he asked the question.