“Most of our kids in this school are either raised on the farm, live on a farm or often visit farms so they’re very much involved with farming and that kind of lifestyle. It’s a wonderful life but it can also be very, very dangerous. There’s a lot of dangers I think kids wouldn’t even be aware of. Some things are obvious but there are a lot of things that won’t be, so I’m hoping that some of this will clue them into some of the other dangers that might be out there,” said Shari Rogerson, principal of Huntsville School, adding the safety day was put on in collaboration with Ag for Life.
“Ag for Life contacted me and asked if we could do a safety day at Huntsville School — a rural and farm safety day. I said absolutely — that would be a great idea,” said Rogerson, adding prior to the event students were excited about all the activities happening around the school.
“It’s like a mini-Ag Expo here,” said Rogerson, before the kick off of the rural and farm safety day.
Rogerson said the safety day is also a way to refresh parents about the dangers of farming and being on a farm.
“The kids I think are sometimes some of the best educators for the parents because students are going to go home and talk about this and hopefully alert some of their parents about some of the dangers parents aren’t even aware of,” noted Rogerson.
Luree Williamson, director of development and communications for Ag for Life, added prior to the start of the activities, Ag for Life along with community collaborators were in Iron Springs to celebrate Canadian Agricultural Safety Week by hosting the safety day for students at the school.
“We’ll have 110 students, the entire school, is going to take part in a safety day where they will go through nine different stations and learn about rural and farm safety topics,” said Williamson.
Topics included chemical safety, large equipment, roll-over simulation and what the effects of not wearing a seatbelt in a vehicle may look like, hearing protection, power line and pipe line safety and irrigation safety.
“All different types of topics that are very relevant to children that live in the Iron Springs area,” the Ag for Life representative noted.
Last week, Ag for Life held safety presentations throughout Alberta with safety days also in Olds and Grande Prairie.
“As part of our mandate with Ag for Life we deliver rural and farm safety throughout the province,” said Williamson, adding the presentations are to encourage and promote local communities, businesses and agricultural societies to get together and host safety days within their communities and Ag for Life is available to help.
Safety is so important, said Williamson, and we need to keep delivering that message throughout the province year-round. “Safety is number one and we hear it every day and we’re always reminded from mothers and relatives and teachers and everyone — safety, safety – but it is important to continue to reinforce safety messaging. There’s so many hazards that children and adults need to be aware of and it’s sort of doing that continual reinforcement and the risk assessment so that safety becomes an everyday habit. Creating a culture of safety to try and prevent a lot of the incidences that do occur,” said Williamson.
At the end of the day Ag for Life loves it when students go home and sit around the dinner table and debrief families on all the great things they learned at a farm safety day at their school. “Students can go home and tell maybe mom or dad or grandma or grandpa — ‘hey you shouldn’t be doing that,’ we need to think safety — that really puts a smile on all of our faces,” said Williamson.