© Christopher Gooding
Cumberland North Academy’s Nicholas Archer thought keeping his hand submerged in icy water for a few seconds was difficult, but he was about to learn just how hard it is to use his hands once they’re cold. Red Cross volunteer Eleanor Crowley was teaching students at the Progressive Agricultural Safety Day in Oxford the importance of boating safety and wearing a personal floatation device before an accident happens, because once you’re cold it might be impossible to get one securely.
OXFORD – Grade 4 students from across Cumberland County are a little wiser about farm safety after descending on the blueberry capital of the world.
Hosted by Oxford Frozen Foods, the third annual Progressive Agricultural Safety Day was held at the community arena on Friday, with hundreds of Grade 4 students meeting face-to-face with many of the emergency service providers in the region, as well as receiving safety instruction for being around number of common agriculture machines found throughout the county.
“When we started it, it was just for Oxford students from Primary to Grade 6, and that was over 250 students,” said Oxford Frozen Foods’ David Powers. “We wanted to invite the other schools in Cumberland County and decided to draw the line at Grade 4. We thought it was a good age, where they’re still enthusiastic but at an age where they’re old enough to take back some of the safety lessons.”
Progressive Agricultural Safety Day is a North American initiative and Oxford Frozen Goods holds the distinction of being Nova Scotia’s only agriculture producer coordinating an event. Previous success in Oxford opened the door to offer Safety Days at the frozen food producers other locations, Powers said.
“We’re the only agriculture putting Safety Days on in Nova Scotia; we’re the only one in Maine, one of two in New Brunswick and we’re expanding to our Prince Edward Island operations next year.”
The success and caliber of exhibits witnesses Powers becoming as excited as the youth. From putting out an simulated fire with a training fire extinguisher, to water safety with the Red Cross, Powers talks with enthusiasm of the partners that have continued to be part of the Safety Day since its first year, and new partners and demonstrations that have come on board to expand the message of safety to kids.
And it’s a message that’s created opportunities his work.
“We actually brought in the fire simulator for our own people to train on.”
RCMP, the Town of Oxford, the Oxford Fire Department, Department of Natural Resources, Red Cross, Green Diamond, Oxford Frozen Foods and Nova Scotia Power were just some of this years exhibits, with Green Diamond providing three John Deere bicycles for a contest that saw Parrsboro’s Beatrice Gauthier, Advocate’s Devon MacGillivary and Springhill’s Lily Arsenault winning a bike each to take home with them to enjoy.