Head Back to School Keeping the ABC’s of Safety in Mind – Always Be Careful!

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

With August upon us, the end of summer is drawing near. Soon, students all over the country will be heading back to school for the start of another new and exciting year of learning. Keep in mind some safety and health concerns for all of us to be aware of from vaccinations and buses to getting back in a routine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes the month of August as National Immunization Awareness Month. From the time a child is born until they go off to college, they’ll get vaccines to protect against a number of serious diseases. The need for vaccination does not end in childhood and are recommended throughout our lives based on age, lifestyle, occupation, travel locations, medical conditions, and previous vaccination history. If you haven’t already, check your child’s immunization record and schedule a visit to their physician or clinic. Doing so now will avoid a potential last minute rush and will help ensure there are no surprises on the first day of school.  Most schools require children to be up-to-date on vaccinations before starting school in order to protect the health of all students. If you are unsure of your state’s school immunization requirements, check with your child’s doctor, school, child care provider, college health center, or local health department.

13-056_SchoolBusSafety_970Buses will become more prevalent on roadways carrying children to and from school, as well as after school sporting events and activities. This may require additional time in our morning or evening commutes to and from work. Drivers should follow the speed limit and slowdown in school zones and near bus stops. Remember, stay alert and look for kids who may be trying to get to or from the school bus. Slow down and stop if you’re driving near a school bus that is flashing yellow or red lights. This means the bus is either preparing to stop (yellow) or already stopped (red), and children are getting on or off. Kids need to practice safety around buses as well. Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. Teach kids to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time. Teach kids to wait for the school bus to come to a complete stop before getting off and to not walk behind the bus. If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, he or she should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe. Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.

Finally, getting back in the school routine after summer break can often be a challenge. Assure your child is getting a good night sleep, get in their vitamin C, and starting each morning with a healthy breakfast, they will be better equipped to fight off the germs, prevent illness, and will be more alert during the school day. Also, make it a point to talk to your child about their day at school, whether in the car ride home or over dinner. This will help you identify any signs of bullying or other issues that may be going on at school and allow you to address the problem early on.

These topics are some of the lessons children learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®. Call 888- 257-3529 or visit progressiveag.org to locate one near your community by clicking on the Safety Day List located under the 2018 Safety Days tab. Want to make a safe investment? Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444 or visit progressiveag.org/Donate.

Photo: With 81% of Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® serving as official school events, school buses are the primary mode of transportation to locations like farms, fairgrounds, arenas and parks. Therefore, teaching children how they can stay safe on and around the bus is an ideal topic, like this event in Iowa.

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How Great Summer Can Be, When Safety is Practiced by Both You & Me!

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

From sunshine and water to vacations and cookouts, summertime sparks special, unique feelings for each of us. However, one thing I think we can all agree on is summer never seems to last long enough! With such a short season to create so many lasting memories, let’s not waste a single moment due to a preventable injury or illness.

  1. 18-772_SunSafety_11318Have Fun in the Sun – Safeguard your skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun by wearing clothing that will protect your skin. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and wrap-around style sunglasses that absorb 100% of UV sunlight. Limit sun exposure and seek shade, especially during 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV rays are their strongest. Generously apply broad-spectrum sunscreen over exposed skin and re-apply every two hours, especially after sweating or swimming.
  2. Make a Big Splash – Whether you are at the beach or swimming in a pool, it is important to obey all instructions posted on signs or from lifeguards. Sadly, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among 1 to 4 year olds according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and many of these drowning deaths and water-related injuries are highest in the warm weather months. Never swim alone, always have a buddy!
  3. Time to Eat – Food safety is important to keep in mind during picnics and gatherings. Remember the 2, 2-4 Rule. Hot, perishable foods that sit out longer than 2 hours are considered unsafe to eat. The USDA recommends throwing away any such food, as it is in the danger zone, where bacteria can rapidly produce. 2-inches is the desired depth of storage containers, as it allows hot food to cool quickly and evenly. 4 days is the amount of time that refrigerated leftovers are safe to eat.
  4. End Summer with a Bang – From Independence Day celebrations through Labor Day, fireworks are prevalent. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. If you do have fireworks at your home, please following these safety tips:
  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution and make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  1. There’s an App for That – Our friends at the American Red Cross developed a First Aid app, which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at your fingertips. The app is available for direct download from Apple or Google Play for Android app stores and is sponsored by Monsanto, a proud 3-star partner of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. Get the app by texting “GETFIRST” to 90999.

These topics are some of the lessons children learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®. Want to host a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in your local community during 2019? Applications are being accepted through July 15, 2018. For more information on how to apply, go to progressiveag.org or call 888- 257-3529.

Photo: At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, like this one in Iowa, participants create bracelets with ultraviolet detecting beads to learn sun safety and the dangers of excessive sun exposure.

Progressive Agriculture Foundation Announces New CEO

Brian_KuhlThe Progressive Agriculture Foundation® is pleased to announce that Brian Kuhl will lead the organization into its next chapter as chief executive officer, effective July 1.

Filling the role of interim chief executive officer since January of this year, Kuhl has demonstrated his commitment to advancing the foundation’s mission of making farm, ranch and rural life safer and healthier for children and their communities.

“Brian’s focus on reinvigorating the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program and providing our sponsors with new opportunities will be key to the future success of the program,” says Katie Schroeder, president, board of directors, Progressive Agriculture Foundation. “The foundation is grateful for all of Brian’s contributions, and we look forward to his leadership for many years to come.”

Kuhl has more than two decades of diverse business experience, including leading sourcing and safety education initiatives at CHS Inc. for 18 years. While at the company, he coordinated numerous Progressive Agriculture Safety Days and helped bring the program to six new communities in the Upper Midwest.

Brian Kuhl PAF Board PresidentIn addition, Kuhl served on the Progressive Agriculture Foundation board of directors for six years, including three years as board president. His time on the board, as well as his experience representing CHS Inc. as a sponsor, has provided Kuhl with a well-rounded perspective on the needs of the organization and its stakeholders.

Kuhl earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business and marketing communications from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls as well as an MBA from the University of Phoenix. He currently lives in Hudson, Wisconsin, with his wife, Kelly, and their two young children.

For more information about the Progressive Agriculture Foundation and Safety Day program, visit progressiveag.org.

It’s National Safety Month: Let’s Vow to Improve Safety So “No 1 Gets Hurt”

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

No-1Gets-HurtIt’s June, which means it is time to celebrate National Safety Month! During the entire month of June, the National Safety Council, along with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, is challenging you to think of at least one change you can make to improve safety. This action is emphasized with the 2018 National Safety Month theme, “No 1 Gets Hurt,” and a new safety topic will be highlighted each week.

Week 1 focuses on Emergency Preparedness: Disasters won’t wait. Therefore, create an emergency plan NOW and put it in place today, not tomorrow! Emergency plans are vital to the home, workplace and the farm and having a thorough plan in place can help mitigate injuries, fatalities and damage to property in the event of a crisis.

Week 2 focuses on Wellness: Did you know 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder? Are you one of them? Getting a better night’s sleep, implementing an exercise regimen, and reducing or eliminating the use of alcohol and tobacco can have a positive influence on your health. Additionally, getting regular wellness check-ups and vaccinations, along with routine exams, including dental and eye, can help prevent or identify health issues. Adopting healthier eating habits by replacing fried food with fresh fruits and vegetables and soda with water are great challenges for the entire family to partake in.

Week 3 focuses on Falls: Don’t get tripped up. Make sure to clean up spills and hazards immediately! We have all been in the situation where we see a potential hazard and think, “I’ll clean that up or move that when I have time.” We also can get in the habit of doing something repeatedly knowing it is unsafe, but avoiding consequences until we least expect it. Break these bad habits now by practicing safety all the time, every time!

Week 4 focuses on Driving: Did you know seatbelts saved nearly 15,000 lives in 2016? Remember to buckle up every ride. Also, avoid distractions such as texting, driving while drowsy, eating, drinking or smoking, adjusting the radio or environmental controls, interacting with other passengers, personal grooming and looking at people, objects or events occurring off the roadway.

For more materials on National Safety Month, including tip sheets, related-articles and logos or graphics, visit the National Safety Council at www.nsc.org

17-401_FirstAid_10718These topics highlighted during National Safety Month are some of the lessons children learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. Find out if one will be taking place in your community this year by visiting progressiveag.org. Simply click on the Safety Day List located under the 2018 Safety Days tab. Looking for a safe investment? Help send another child to a Safety Day with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444 or visit progressiveag.org/Donate.

Photo: Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, challenge children to adopt new practices or change behaviors to be safer on the farm, ranch or in the rural communities where they live and play. At this Safety Day in Wisconsin, participants learn about first aid and how to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Spring into SAFETY During Planting Season

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

18-549 Mr. Good EggMost farms are safe places; however, during busy times of year, like spring planting season, we tend to lose our safety focus. Sobering statistics reveal that every three days a child dies and every day 33 children are injured in agriculture-related incidents. The Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program provides the education, training and resources to make farm and ranch life safer and healthier for children and their communities. By not cutting corners and avoiding the urge to rush to accomplish many tasks in a short amount of time, we can maintain a safety focus.

Here a five safety tips to ensure safety is always at the forefront this spring:

  1. Wear Your PPE – Whether leisure activities like ATV and bicycle riding to daily farm tasks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including helmets, gloves, sunscreen, wide brim hats and dust masks can save a life and keep you healthy for years to come.
  2. Hydration & Sleep – Drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest to stay focused and alert during long, hot days.
  3. Equipment Safety 101 – Spring planting season is busy; however, it is important to take extra time to complete tasks safety.
  • Take extra time to do a walkabout around your equipment to make sure it is free from debris and other factors that could make it unsafe.
  • Ensure all tractors have Rollover Protective Systems (ROPS) and seat belts in place.
  • All tractors and machinery that cannot maintain 25 miles per hour should be equipped with a visible Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem.
  • Kids are curious and are attracted to large equipment, but can be hard to spot around large equipment. Equipment operators should always check for blind spots.
  1. Chores for Children – When assigning youth chores on the farm or ranch, be sure to take into account the child’s size, age and abilities.
  2. Role Model Safe Behavior – Remember, your children are always watching, so show them the correct and safe way to do something. We are counting on them as our next generation of farmers and agricultural leaders!

Nearly 475 applications to host a 2018 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® throughout North America were received last year. Will one be taking place in your community? Visit progressiveag.org to find out. Simply click on the Safety Day List located under the 2018 Safety Days tab. Looking for a safe investment? Help send another child to a Safety Day with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “safetyday” to 41444 or visit progressiveag.org/Donate.

Photo: Learning to be a good egg! During an activity called, “Mr. Good Egg,” participants at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in Illinois learn how valuable Rollover Protective Systems (ROPS) and seatbelt are on tractors and other equipment.

Know What’s Underground, Before Any Digging Goes Down

2018 T-shirt Design (English)By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

As the snow melts revealing a ground ready for planting, many eager homeowners are gearing up to start those outdoor digging projects. However, before you reach for that shovel, remember to call 811, the national call-before-you-dig number, to ensure that your buried utility lines are marked.

Did you know failure to call 811 before digging results in damage to a buried utility once every nine minutes across the United States? For the tenth consecutive year, National Safe Digging Month is celebrated in April, as it symbolizes the start of many spring digging projects. Installing a new mailbox, building a deck, and planting a tree or garden may seem like a simple task, but still warrants a call to 811. The call before you dig process is both free and simple, consisting of 5 steps:

  1. Notify your local one call center by calling 811 (or making an online request) 2-3 days before work begins. This lead time may vary from state to state; therefore, visit call811.com to locate the rules for your state.
  2. Wait the required amount of time for affected utility operators to respond to your request.
  3. Confirm that all affected utility operators have responded to your request and marked underground utilities.
  4. Respect the marks or markers.
  5. Dig carefully around the marks with care.

Since children are curious and love to dig, it is never too early to teach them about the importance of safe digging. At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, activities and demonstrations are designed to reinforce underground utilities safety using verbal, visual and hands-on learning opportunities. Thanks to a unique partnership with our 5-star sponsor, TransCanada, a leader in the responsible development and reliable operation of North American energy infrastructure, this topic has been propelled to the forefront with an Underground Utilities Safety Module. The module focuses on two main objectives: The importance of calling 811 before you dig in the United States (and the importance of call or click before you dig in Canada) and pipeline leak recognition and response. The complete module, including curriculum, an interactive display and scratch & sniff cards are available for use at all Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® throughout North America. Additionally, other partners with the Common Ground Alliance and Pipeline Operators for Ag Safety helped spotlight our program and many of these vital safety tips at the Peterson Bros. Farm Tour held on 8-11-2017 in Assaria, Kansas.

Remember, for all digging projects large or small, be sure to start with an important call!

To date, more than 1.6 million children & adults have been reached by a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in their local community. Learn more about the program by calling 888-257-3529 or visiting progressiveag.org. You can help send another child to a Safety Day with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “safetyday” to 41444 or visit progressiveag.org/Donate.

Photo: All Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® participants receive a free t-shirt and this year’s t-shirt design theme, “Know What’s Underground – Before Any Digging Goes Down,” will highlight messaging around the importance of calling 811 or clicking before you dig. The messaging on the t-shirts will continue educating others long after the Safety Day concludes.

Let’s Be Proactive and Train to Stay Safe around Grain

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

Let’s begin with a Safety Limerick:

Children should never play in grain

May past farming incidents teach us and not be in vain                                 

Let’s educate our future generation

And give them the proper foundation 

To achieve greatness and none of the blame

As with many practices on the farm, producing grain can be dangerous. According to Purdue University, on U.S. farms there were 47 confirmed grain Gravity Box Wagon 17-356bin entrapments and incidents in other confined spaces in 2015. Our friends at Nationwide are helping to bring awareness to this important topic through their sponsorship and support of Grain Bin Safety Week held the third full week of February.

In an effort to help prevent further deaths and injuries, Nationwide collaborates each year with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) to offer safety trainings. In offering their fifth annual contest to provide rescue tubes to fire departments in rural areas, they are providing tools and resources needed if a grain bin incident occurs. The Progressive Agriculture Foundation whole-heartedly support this endeavor and are taking it a step further to educate our future generation of farmers – our children!

It’s downright scary the similarities grain has to quicksand. In a matter of seconds, one can become entrapped in grain and in less than a minute become fully submerged. Curiosity, size, strength and lack of experience are a major cause of injuries and fatalities for young children. Through hands-on activities and demonstrations, we strongly emphasize the following to youth participants at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®:

  1. Always stay out of flowing grain.
  2. Never walk or play in or around stored grain.
  3. Never enter a grain bin, wagon, or truck.
  4. Stay away from a grain bin while the unloading auger or suction tube is operating.
  5. What to do in case of an emergency involving grain, including:
  • Turn off any equipment that is causing the grain to flow or move. This will stop the person from being pulled further underneath the grain.
  • Always assume the victim is alive and take the necessary measures to help the situation. This may include turning on aeriation fans and assuring dryer heat is turned off.
  • Call for help immediately. Never attempt to pull someone out of grain on your own.

While educating youth, always send the correct messages. Avoid confusing children by sending mixed messages when replacing sand boxes with corn at places like pumpkin patches, local parks and farm shows. A young child will have trouble understanding and identifying the difference between grain in a corn box and grain in a gravity flow wagon.

Learn more about 2018 Grain Bin Safety Week taking place February 18-24 and nominate your local fire department to be the recipient of essential grain safety resources by visiting https://www.nationwide.com/grain-bin-safety-week.jsp

Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® reach more than 100,000 individuals annually with fun, age-appropriate, hands-on safety education. To learn more, call 888-257-3529 or visit progressiveag.org. A modest donation of only $13, helps send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in North America. Donate by texting the word “safetyday” to 41444 or go to progressiveag.org/Donate to contribute on-line.

Photo: Our friends at Unverferth Manufacturing Co. Inc., support our efforts in teaching grain safety and have provided a new resource to strengthen our demonstrations at Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®. Unverferth graciously donated a gravity flow wagon to our program, which is being housed by our partners at NECAS in Peosta, Iowa.