Promoting farm safety among young people

Oxford event brings Grade 4 students together from across Cumberland County

Darrell Cole
Published on April 25, 2014
These students from Spring Street Academy look on as Bob the Dummy gets too close to a tractor’s power take-off device during the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in Oxford on Friday.
Darrell Cole -

Safety on the farm and the community was the focus of a safety event in Oxford for Grade 4 students.

OXFORD – Students are never too young to learn about farming safety.

More than 350 Grade 4 students from across Cumberland County were bused to Oxford on Friday to participate in a farming safety display that also covered electrical, fire and water safety as well as conservation, bee-keeping and Emergency Health Services.

“It’s primarily farm safety, but we have police, fire and ambulance here as well,” said co-ordinator David Powers, the director of health, safety and the environment at Oxford Frozen Foods. “It’s a program that’s designed to be a fun learning experience for the participants.

“We’ve always said if just one child gets one safety idea they use in their life then it’s all worth it.”

Powers said he has heard from adults who told him their children attended the safety day and brought the knowledge home to share with their parents, brothers and sisters.

Organized by health and safety committee members at Oxford Frozen Foods, the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day promotes safety among young people.

“When I was these kids’ age I had no idea what safety was, the farm to me was a playground. If we can help the kids understand that farms are fabulous places but there are some things that you need to look out for then we’re doing our job,” Powers said.

Representatives from the Cumberland RCMP, Oxford Fire Department and EHS brought a safety message through a number of demonstrations on communication, fire safety and prevention and the equipment used by paramedics.

There were also stations on tractor and ATV safety along with instruction on how to safely cut the grass.

“One of the interactive displays we had here this year was a virtual fire extinguisher in which the children learned how to put out a fire. It’s something they put to use in their own home,” Powers said.

There were also demonstrations from Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, the Environment Department, identifying poisonous substances, water conservation and the Canadian Red Cross.

Red Cross volunteer and retired RCMP officer Mike Johnson joined fellow volunteer Penny Henneberry in talking to the students about water safety and the importance of lifejackets and personal flotation devices.

“It’s important for the children when they’re around the water this summer that they need to think safety,” Johnson said. “We’re also talking to them about personal flotation devices and how important it is not only to wear them but make sure they’re fitted properly.”

Const. Travise Dow of the Cumberland RCMP said events such as this prevent mishaps and save lives by getting the safety message to young children.

“Safety is not just something adults have to think about, it’s just as important for children to think safety,” Dow said. “This is unique in that they can come to one location and learn all about safety on the farm, but also around their home.”

One of the more popular demonstrations involved a hay-filled dummy called Bob and the power take-off of a tractor in which the students were shown what could happen should they get too close to a PTO unit.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell