Lincoln County students get life-saving tips

September 30, 2004|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - It's hard to keep an eye on the target when your helmet keeps falling forward. Lincoln County Middle School student Amber Phelps struggled to battle a mock blaze Wednesday at the high school FFA's farm safety day but found herself fighting the heavy equipment as much as the fire.

Phelps and her fellow classmates donned firefighter's uniforms to learn fire safety and the finer points of using a fire extinguisher, to keep them from panicking in a real-life situation.

Students spent half a day at the Lincoln County fairgrounds participated in sessions on railroad, electricity and general farm safety as well as a quick lesson in first aid.

"Anything that could happen around the farm," said Fire Station Chief Troy Gingrass. Representatives from county fire stations 8, 4 and 1 were on hand to help, in addition to Inter-County Energy, Norfolk-Southern Railroad, the state Department of Agriculture and Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center.


FFA adviser Denise Thomas said she started the program nine years ago after hearing stories of students' farm accidents.

"I felt like there was a need for it in the community with the kids. You hear of so many farm accidents with these kids coming in ... especially with ATVs becoming so popular," said Thomas.

Preventable ATV injuries have become more common as the recreation vehicles gain rural popularity, said Jason Hodge, Kentucky Department of Agriculture farm and home safety program coordinator.

"Probably one of the biggest things that are killing kids today are ATVs," and that could be prevented by wearing a helmet, Hodge said.

He also stressed the importance of using good old-fashioned horse sense on the farm, such as keeping kids off the tractor fenders if you're in a rush to bring the crops in. "Use caution. If you're busy, leave them at home," Hodge said.

ATV safety also was discussed by Norfolk-Southern Railroad engineers Bruce Rousey and John Toombs. ATV riders using the railroad tracks as trails are often in more danger than they realize, said Toombs. This year alone, 12 Kentuckians will die in a train collision from trespassing on the tracks or ignoring warning lights.

"We try to do this to keep from running over people," Toombs said about his presentation, "Operation Live Saver."

Student Rahjon Normal, of Stanford, said the day's programs were worth the trip and he was glad he came. The demonstrations are important to students "so they'll know what to do when they get older and know all the safety procedures," Normal said.

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