Thousands of rural kids to participate is agricultural safety education

The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) says more than 13,500 children and participants in Canada will take part this year in Progressive Agriculture Safety Day events, the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America.

More than 70 Canadian events are scheduled across rural communities in 2012, with the majority of events taking place in the summer months between May and the end of August. Safety Day events are supported this year by over 3,000 volunteers. Events include fun, hands-on educational activities that teach children how to stay safe on the farm. Communities select specific activities based on local rural safety issues, such as sun safety, recognizing and avoiding chemical exposure, and safe animal handling.

CASA partners with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation to facilitate Safety Day events throughout Canada.

“CASA has a mandate to reduce farm injuries in Canada. By supporting Safety Days education, CASA is helping communities bolster their children’s awareness of farm risks, helping to prevent farm injuries one child at a time,” said Marcel Hacault, executive director of CASA, in a media release.

On average 13 children die every year in Canada as a result of farming activities. Many tragedies could be avoided through a combination of education and proactive health and safety planning.

Dora Simmons is the Safety Day Coordinator for six rural and/or remote First Nations communities in Manitoba. She says First Nations communities have safety risks specific to rural living. “All the communities I’m working with have challenges unique to their location. Some are concerned about water safety; others are interested in safety around power tool operation, ATV use, lawn mower use, or road safety. So it is really rewarding for me to work one on one with each community to customize a safety day that will meet their needs and help keep their kids safe,” she says.

Simmons expects to reach approximately 1,100 children in Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, Black River First Nation, Hollow Water First Nation, Bloodvein First Nation, Little Grand Rapids First Nation, and Pauingassi First Nation over the course of the year.

Lorna Kotz is a first-time Safety Day Coordinator in Salmon Arm, British Columbia and Chair of the BC 4-H Safety Committee. “It’s going to be our first one, so we’re really excited about it and we look forward to this being the beginning of many more,” she says.

For a list of 2012 Safety Day events in Canada, visit the website:  wwww.planfarmsafety.ca.

Communities wishing to host 2013 Safety Day events can apply online. Go to www.planfarmsafety.ca and click on Safety Days. Safety Days may be delivered in English or French and Safety Day coordinator training is available in both languages. The deadline for applications is July 15, 2012.

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