The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

May 3, 2013

Being smart means being safe

Albia students get hands-on education about danger around farms

ALBIA — Though the safety event looked like a fair, one child said it was most fun because they "learned things."

The adults seemed to be getting through to the kids on subjects from mowing grass to riding in farm equipment.

"You never jump out of a moving thing," said Jenna Gronewold, a third-grader.

Asked why, she answered, "Because you could fall on your face."

Though the program is called Ag in the Classroom, Thursday's event was at the Monroe County Fairgrounds, run by the Monroe County Farm Bureau. They work with Morgan Schafbuch, Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) outreach coordinator.

“The farm is a great place to live,” said Schafbuch. “People just need to be mindful of the dangers. Nearly every job on the farm can be dangerous.”

In fact, some safety rules may be familiar to any homeowner, but they're not always practiced by adults.

"If you're on a lawnmower," Jenna said, "make sure it's off and the blade has stopped spinning before you get off. And for a push lawnmower, don't pull it, because you'll cut off your toes."

Officials from the Monroe County Farm Bureau warn that more than 100 American kids are killed each year in accidents on the farm.

"How fast is electricity?" asked Charles VanDePol of Chariton Valley Electric Coop.

Most kids didn't guess that one correctly: It's 186,000 miles per second. And that means if you mess with electricity, he told children, you are not going to outrun the shock.

His associate, Mike Gibler, explained how to leave a tractor or a school bus that is trapped under a live power line.

"You jump off," he said. "And once you are off the bus, you don't reach back to help each other."

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