There’s nothing quite like the dramatic destruction of a stuffed dummy to drive home a point about safety. The popular station demonstrating the dangers of a common piece of farm equipment, a power take-off shaft, was a real eye-opener for students at the first ever Farm Safety Day at Stampede Park.
“It’s kind of scary,” Strathmore area student Julia Doble said after watching the demonstration, but added, “kids usually don’t know about these things. Adults usually learn from experience, so it’s good for kids to learn about this early so they can prevent accidents.”
With recent tragedies in our province’s farming and ranching communities underscoring the need for an event such as this, a mutual desire to support our community’s youth had AltaLink and the Calgary Stampede joining forces for Farm Safety Day.
“I grew up in an agricultural community and have seen the incredible work ethic and can-do spirit rural Albertans bring to the work they do day in and day out,” said Scott Thon, President and CEO of AltaLink. “I am also aware of the complex nature of our agricultural operations and the dangers associated with it. That’s why AltaLink, in conjunction with the Calgary Stampede, hosted Farm Safety Day – to provide education and awareness to our youth on how to work safely and prevent injuries.”
Approximately 700 students took part in the demonstrations and hands-on learning on Thursday, May 26. Focused on helping rural youth learn and identify the risks around them in order to keep themselves safe, the event had a variety of safety-related stations. In addition to AltaLink’s electrical safety game, there were interactive activities on topics ranging from grain safety and confined spaces, to animal behavior. They were also able to see first-hand the powerful impact of accidents, with a demonstration that showed what could happen if an article of clothing were to get caught in a PTO shaft, as well as a vehicle rollover simulator.
For teacher Marleen Belton, the experience was just what she was hoping for when she brought her students from the Rosebud River School, of the Springvale Hutterite colony. The community north of Rockyford, Alberta, relies heavily on farming, with young people becoming involved early on. Belton believes her students will definitely benefit from what they’ve learned at Farm Safety Day.
“It’s sinking in,” she said as the event drew to a close. “When they can come and touch things and see it, the hands-on really helps.” Plans are now in the works to make this an annual event that brings hundreds of rural students to Stampede Park to talk safety every spring.