Unsure What’s Below? Don’t Start Digging Before You Know!

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® Program

With the snow melting, a ground ready for planting is beginning to reveal itself. 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 six minutes across the United States? Disturbance to an underground utility line can cause damage to the environment, serious personal injuries, disruption of service for the neighborhood and lead to expenses in fines and repair costs. Now in its eleventh consecutive year, National Safe Digging Month celebrated during April, symbolizes the start of many spring digging projects. Although installing a new mailbox, building a deck, and planting a tree or garden may seem like a simple task, it 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.

Bunge SD Council Bluffs, IA May 2018Since 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. Additional support for awareness of underground utilities safety has been received from 4-star sponsors CHS, Enbridge and Alliance Pipeline.

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

To date, more than 1.7 million children & adults have been reached by Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®. 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: In 2018, more than 27,000 youth participants and adult volunteers were educated on Underground Utilities Safety at one of the 380 Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® held throughout North America. The topic was reinforced through various demonstrations and hands-on activities.

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Let’s Call Your Attention to the Importance of Poison Prevention

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

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among people ages 1 to 44 and continue to be the fifth leading cause of death overall, according to the National Safety Council. The top three causes of fatal unintentional injuries include motor vehicle crashes, poisoning, and falls. In 2016, nearly 69,000 deaths were related to poisoning. Every day, more than 300 children in the United States, ages 0 to 19, are treated in an emergency department as a result of being poisoned.

We highlight the importance of this issue and these sobering statistics during National Poison Prevention Week, held annually during the third week in March. Congress first recognized this week in 1961 to raise awareness, reduce unintentional poisonings and promote poison prevention. At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, chemical safety continues to be one of the most popular topics offered reaching nearly 52,000 youth participants and adult volunteers in 2017.

5b21f0b43ed1b.imageFor young children that cannot read labels, many products around the home can look like popular candy or drinks. Even products that can be good for you, like vitamins and medicines, can become harmful if you do not follow the label directions. Common poison look-a-likes you may find around your home may include gummy vitamins that look like fruit snacks or gummy bears; laxatives resembling chocolate; household cleaners, liquid medications or mouthwash that may look like sports drinks or juice; and bleach or rubbing alcohol that resembles water. In recent years, we witnessed the dangers of laundry or dishwasher pods that look like candy. Also, with the legalization of marijuana in many states for recreational or medical use, the danger of edibles in baked goods, candy and beverages are a new concern. Despite their ordinary appearance, a single pot cookie or candy bar can contain several times the recommended adult dose of THC. Anyone who eats one of these edibles, especially a child, can experience overdose effects such as intoxication, altered perception, anxiety, panic, paranoia, dizziness, weakness, slurred speech, poor coordination, apnea, and heart problems according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Living with chemicals is a reality, but the National Safety Council encourages making informed decisions about the type of products you bring into your home. Understanding risk and limiting exposure are paramount to keeping your family safe. Before you buy, read the label to make sure you know exactly what you’re purchasing and understand terms and definitions found on product labels. Caution indicates the lowest level of potential harm, Warning indicates a higher level of potential harm meaning you could become seriously ill or injured, and Danger indicates the highest level of potential harm: tissue damage to skin, blindness, death or damage to the mouth, throat or stomach if swallowed. As parents, grandparents and caring adults, it is our responsibility to keep our children safe. Let’s be proactive by following these five safety tips:

  1. Label harmful products and place them out of the reach of children.
  2. Periodically clean out storage cabinets and carefully following disposal instructions indicated on product labels.
  3. Avoid moving poisons or chemicals from their original container.
  4. Lead by example and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when handling chemicals.
  5. Keep the telephone number of the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) in a place easy to locate in case of an emergency.

For more information or to locate a Safety Day near you, visit www.progresiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.

Photo: Participants at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® try to differentiate the poison and safe items in a chemical look-a-like activity. This year, National Poison Prevention Week will be celebrated March 17-23, 2019.

Don’t Miss A Beat! Become Heart Healthy with these 8 Tips

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

Our hearts work hard for us non-stop our entire life. Unfortunately, cardiovascular disease remains one of the leading causes of death in both men and women here in the United States. Therefore, we need to show our hearts some TLC to ensure a long, healthy life. The American Heart Association celebrates American Heart Month during the entire month of February.  Here are eight great tips for staying heart healthy:

  1. Hearts Don’t Dig Cigs! No level of smoking is safe, and the risk of a heart attack rises with every cigarette smoked daily. As soon as you quit you reduce your risk of heart attack, though it takes several years to undo most of the cardiovascular damage. Avoid secondhand smoke, too. Everyone has the right to clean air and breathing healthy leads to living happy.
  2. Catch Some ZZZ’s! Sleep could be the key to unlocking a healthier you. The amount and quality of sleep can influence eating habits, mood, memory, internal organs and more.  Aim for lucky number 7! Getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night can lead to a healthier heart.
  3. Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure regularly.
  4. Stay in Control when it comes to blood sugar levels. Also, cut back on sodium and alcohol consumption.
  5. Eat for Your Heart by adopting a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
  6. Move More by staying active and incorporating brisk walks or do other aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes most days; more is even better!
  7. Mental Health Matters! Do what you can to treat depression and reduce stress. Being chronically depressed may increase your risk for a heart attack. Do not think that it is normal to feel low or miserable most of the time. It may seem easier said than done, but don’t sweat the small stuff and find ways to cope with stressful situations like yoga, meditation or exercise.
  8. Know your Family Tree! Some genetic traits are not as obvious as others and the biggest mistake is not talking about your family’s health history. Knowledge is power, and you can help eliminate health risks by knowing.

Heart HealthWhether instilling healthy habits in children or adopting healthier lifestyles as adults, our hearts will thank us! For more tips on heart health including recipes, screenings and fitness, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org

Healthy lifestyles is just one of more than 30 topics offered at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. In 2019, the program is celebrating 25 years with more than 400 events planned in rural communities. For more information or to locate a Safety Day near you, visit www.progresiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® with a modest donation of only $13 by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444 or visiting progressiveag.org/Donate.

The Holidays May Be Over, but Jack Frost May Still Be Nipping at your Nose!

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

Baby, it’s cold outside! During these winter months, frostbite and hypothermia are on the rise. Cold weather can be dangerous for anyone who must work outdoors, like our farmers. Therefore, it is imperative to be mindful of the risks before venturing outside this winter, like checking the temperature and limit your time outdoors if it’s very cold, wet or windy. Also, bundling up in several layers of loose clothing, selecting mittens rather than gloves, covering your ears with a warm hat, and wearing socks that will keep your feet warm and dry. Although you may not live in one of the coldest areas that doesn’t mean you don’t have to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia. Both conditions are caused by excessive exposure to low temperatures, wind or moisture. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature drops below 95 degrees and Frostbite is one of the most common injuries resulting from exposure to severe cold, usually occurring on fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin.

Superficial frostbite affects the skin surface, while the underlying tissue remains soft. The skin appears white, waxy or grayish-yellow and is cold and numb. If the condition progresses to deep frostbite, all layers of the skin are affected, and the outcome likely will be more serious. The skin will become completely numb, blisters may form and eventually the skin tissue dies and turns black. If caught early, it is possible to prevent permanent damage, but if not, frostbite can lead to amputation. If you suspect frostbite, it is important to:

  1. Get indoors immediately
  2. Seek medical attention
  3. Remove constrictive clothing and jewelry that could impair circulation
  4. Place dry, sterile gauze between toes and fingers to absorb moisture and keep them from sticking together
  5. Elevate the affected area to reduce pain and swelling
  6. or superficial frostbite, you may also place the affected area in water that is 100 to 105 degrees until the tissue softens

Amy R Pic 1 HypothermiaFor hypothermia, one of the first signs is severe shivering, which is beneficial in keeping the body warm. But as hypothermia progresses, shivering gives way to drowsiness or exhaustion, confusion, shallow breathing, irregular heartbeat, slurred speech, loss of coordination and, eventually, unconsciousness and even death.  In one of the most bizarre SONY DSCsymptoms of hypothermia, “paradoxical undressing,” a person actually undresses instead of bundling up. Researchers believe that in the final throes of hypothermia, a person may feel like he or she is overheating due to a rush of warm blood to the extremities. What should you do if you encounter someone suffering from hypothermia?

  1. Move the victim inside and remove any wet clothing
  2. Call for medical attention and if necessary, give CPR
  3. Add blankets, pillows, towels or newspapers beneath and around the victim
  4. Cover the victim’s head
  5. Handle the victim gently to avoid cardiac arrest
  6. Keep the victim in a horizontal position

For additional winter safety resources, visit www.nsc.org/home-safety.

Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® is celebrating 25 years with more than 400 events planned in rural communities throughout North America. For more information or to locate a Safety Day near you, visit www.progresiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® with a modest donation of only $13 by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444 or visiting progressiveag.org/Donate.

Photo: Coordinator, Amy Rademaker, has taught lessons about hypothermia at her local Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® in Illinois. Through a hands-on activity, titled “The Chill that Kills,” participants learn of the dangers related to this condition.

 

Keep Your Holiday Season Merry and Bright by Ensuring Food Safety with Every Bite!

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

From gift giving, decorating and family gatherings, the holiday season should be filled with peace, joy and happiness. Unfortunately, sickness can be an unwanted gift that you cannot return to the store and will surely put a damper on your celebrations. While taking care of others this holiday season, be sure to take care of yourself by getting plenty of rest, limiting stress and staying hydrated.

Another concern deals with the food. In addition to monitoring overeating and sugar intake, we need to keep food safety in mind. One gift we should avoid giving our loved ones is food poisoning. As we plan to host holiday parties and family meals, food safety should be a top priority. Here are five important tips to remember when preparing your holiday feast:

  1. Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking. Although some consumers think they are removing bacteria and making their meat or poultry safe, washing before cooking is not recommended according to the USDA. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensil and surfaces, which is commonly referred to as cross-contamination.
  2. Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature. Food thermometers are the only reliable way to ensure safety and determine the desired “doneness” of meat, poultry and egg products. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, “Doneness,” refers to when a food is cooked to a desired state and indicates the sensory aspects of foods such as texture, appearance and juiciness. These sensory aspects are subjective. A minimum safe internal temperature for most raw meats, including beef, pork and lamb, is 145 degrees Fahrenheit and 165 degrees for poultry.
  3. Refrigerate food within two hours and be cautious with leftovers. 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. Wash your hands frequently when handling food.
  5. In addition to food safety, be mindful of basic kitchen and fire safety practices. Use safety with knives and working around hot surfaces and watch small children carefully in the kitchen. Ensure a working smoke detector is installed in the kitchen and a fire extinguisher is in reach. The use of turkey fryers has risen in recent years, but with their popularity, so has injuries and incidents. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there have been 168 turkey-fryer related fires, burns, explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning incidents since 2002 resulting in nearly 672 people injured and $8 million in property damage losses.

10-1016_FoodSafety_6188For 2019, 25 years of Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® will be celebrated with more than 400 events planned in rural communities throughout North America. For more information or to locate a Safety Day near you, visit www.progresiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. Give the gift of safety this holiday season, by helping 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: Healthy lifestyles including the components of food safety are offered at many Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® like this event in Indiana. Participants learn about a variety of things like cross-contamination, proper handwashing, as well as the importance of exercise and eating a balanced diet.

It’s Important to Get Some Sleep, Before Getting Behind the Wheel of a Truck, Tractor or Jeep!

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

Tkd 1868crpdWe all know it’s wrong to drink and drive, but did you realize driving while drowsy is the same as driving impaired?

Nearly 70 million people are sleep deprived or suffer from a sleep disorder according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep deprivation is a major contributor to vehicle crashes. Statistics have found that people tend to fall asleep while driving at high speed, driving long distances or driving on rural roadways. Therefore, to shed light and bring awareness to this important issue, November 4-11, 2018 is recognized as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

We encourage children to get plenty of sleep each night, and as adults we need to take our own advice. However, when the time comes to crawl into bed each night, that is when many thoughts seem to start swirling around in our heads. From stressful triggers like daily responsibilities including finances, work, health, families and relationships to changing shifts at work, obtaining a decent night’s sleep is often easier said than done. For farmers, weather factors and the extra demands during hectic seasons, like spring planting and fall harvest, can add to sleep deprivation and drowsiness.

To help you stay awake and avoid being drowsy behind the wheel, here are six important tips to keep in mind:

  1. Ensure you are getting plenty of sleep. 7 to 9 hours is best!
  2. If you have been awake for more than 24 hours – avoid getting behind the wheel. It is not safe to drive!
  3. If you have a long drive ahead and you start to feel sleepy, get some caffeine. If all else fails, find someplace safe to pull over and take a nap, or stay somewhere for the night.
  4. On long road trips or extensive hours behind the wheel, plan for regular breaks and stops. A good rule of thumb is stopping every 100 miles or every two hours.
  5. Plan your travel at times when you feel the most awake. If possible, have a passenger to keep you company or help with the drive.
  6. Speak up! If you see someone that appears sleep deprived getting behind the wheel, say something. Avoid endangering the life of the driver, as well as others on the road, in the same way you would if you suspected someone was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

For more information on drowsy driving, visit sleepfoundation.org/drowsy-driving. Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® participants learn the importance of getting a good night’s sleep and the consequences of driving or completing tasks while drowsy in relation to healthy lifestyles. Thanks to our friends at Drunk Busters of America, LLC., a sponsor of Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program, great hands-on resources, including goggles that simulate drowsy, distracted and impaired driving, are available for purchase by our coordinators. More than 400 Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® are being planned for 2019 in farming and rural communities all throughout North America. For more information or to locate a Safety Day near you, visit www.progresiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. 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: Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® participants from Minnesota learn about various distractions that can occur while driving during a roadway safety hands-on activity.

Listen Up! Be All Ears When It Comes to Hearing Health and Safety

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

Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. From a single shot fired from a shotgun experienced at close range to repeated exposure to loud machinery over an extended period of time, loud noises can present a serious health risk. No matter if damage occurs instantaneously, like with the shotgun, or over time in a work setting, the damage to your ears is often permanent and irreversible. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.

October is recognized as National Protect Your Hearing Month by the National Safety Council. Nearly 20 to 30 million people are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work each year and approximately 10 million people in the United States have permanent hearing loss from noise or trauma. Unfortunately, the risk and harmful effects of noise on hearing are often underestimated because the damage takes place so gradually. Implementing the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) reduces the noise exposure level and the risk of hearing loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if the noise or sound level at the workplace exceeds 85 decibels (A-weighted), a person should wear a hearing protector. An A-weighted system is an expression of the relative loudness of sounds in air as perceived by the human ear.  The decibel values of sounds at low frequencies are reduced, compared with unweighted decibels, in which no correction is made for audio frequency.

IMG_2259In recent years, the Progressive Agriculture Foundation teamed up with the National Institutes of Health, in partnership with the University of Michigan and Dangerous Decibels®, to develop a hearing safety chapter for use at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®. The primary goal with this curriculum is providing early intervention with youth and initiating the conversation on hearing safety from a young age. During a station at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, participants learn that hearing loss is preventable and distinguish between safe and dangerous noise levels through identifying common farm and rural sources of dangerous noise. Additionally, participants learn to demonstrate how to use distance to reduce noise levels and the use of hearing protectors through a variety of hands-on activities and demonstrations. Three key messages reinforced are:

  1. Protect your Ears by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
  2. Walk Away from loud noises
  3. Turn it Down by lowering the volume

Take a moment and reflect on the noises you encounter on a day-to-day basis. What are you doing to protect your ears and avoid hearing loss? Remember, don’t put your hearing health to the test, but rather invest in protection or walk away to give your ears much needed rest!

Hearing Safety is one of more than 30 topics that are covered annually at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®. With more than 400 events taking place each year, Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® is recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. For more information or to locate a Safety Day near you, visit www.progresiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. 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: During Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, like this one held in North Dakota, participants use sound meters to learn about the noise levels of common household items, from a kitchen blender to a vacuum cleaner.