Saftey is top priority

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 21, 2005

JACKSON – In an area where the economy lives off of farming, everything surrounding the business is crucial – including safety.

Saturday, Northampton County held a Farm Safety Day for Kids at the J.W. Faison Administration Building near Jackson.

The program attracted more than 50 children, ages 9-13, and included safety lessons on weather, large equipment, food, firearms and bicycles.

The staff for the camp believe farm safety is essential for the representative age group, because of the prevalence of farms in our area.

&uot;We’re trying to make kids more safety conscious when they are around farm equipment or are outdoors in general,&uot; Cooperative Extension Agent Verlene Stephenson said. &uot;It’s important for kids to be careful when they’re around electrical equipment, but everything we’re covering here is important.&uot;

The campers went from station to station listening to representatives from various organizations and groups explaining what kids can do to better protect themselves.

At the weather safety station, the campers learned how to protect themselves from various weather incidents, including thunderstorms and tornadoes, and what they can do to better preserve the environment.

At the large equipment station the campers learned about the dangers that large tractors and other machinery can present, such as flying debris and the blind spots some equipment have.

One camp volunteer, who experienced the need for farm safety first hand, knew this camp would be beneficial to the children involved.

The volunteer, Ebony Harris, a 4H Volunteer, lost her finger working in a chicken house when she was nine years old. Last year she was given the opportunity to speak in Gatlingburg, Tennessee about the incident and the need for farm safety.

&uot;If I would have gone to a camp like this before my accident, it would have never happened,&uot; Harris said. &uot;It’s a great opportunity for these kids.&uot;

Harris spoke at the camp about her experience and led a group in Farm Safety Jeopardy.

The campers said they enjoyed their time at the camp and began to realize the importance of safety.

&uot;We got to learn about all of nature’s good and had a lot of fun,&uot; Daniel Wiley, 9, said.

Other campers agreed they had a good time and learned a great deal.

&uot;The camp was interesting and it was cool to learn all the stuff we did,&uot; Jake Bryant, 9, said.

The leaders of the camp believed the response to be positive from the campers and thanked all the sponsors that made the event possible.

&uot;The kids have all responded really well and seemed to have a great time,&uot; Stephenson said. &uot;But none of this would have been possible without all the volunteers and the community support we had through all of our sponsors.&uot;