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Farm safety reminders reach schools, roadways

Farm safety takes a national spotlight September 18-24 during National Farm Safety and Health Week. Started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the special week this year features the theme “A Legacy to be Proud of.”

Close to home, third- and fourth-graders at St. Joseph Grade School will learn about farm safety and legacies in hands-on ways September 23 at Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®.

“We can only leave a legacy for our children when the family is safe. It’s so important for us to talk with children about farm safety. It can make a lifelong impact when we show them,” said Amy Rademaker, Carle Center for Rural Health and Farm Safety specialist.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls agriculture the most dangerous occupation in the United States. As the area’s Level 1 Trauma Center, Carle Foundation Hospital counts on Rademaker to play a key role in the regional charge on incident prevention and safety.

Through a survey of experts, farmers and the community and local incident data, Carle Center for Rural Health and Farm Safety identified the four most-serious regional risks.

  • All-terrain vehicles (ATV)
  • Tractors
  • Chemicals
  • Grain

Reaching more than 3,500 people a year, Rademaker shares her expertise all over the state. Her efforts will focus on those high-risk areas for at least the next three years.

“Because I grew up on a farm, I always think about a farmer and that farmer’s response to safety communication,” she said. “I always try to wear a farmer’s hat when I look at farm safety programs.”

But not all of us grew up on farms or in rural areas, making this reminder essential.

“Many people don’t realize a lot of rural intersections do not have four-way stops, making them especially dangerous when the corn is so tall,” Rademaker said.

“People should always stop at these intersections, even if they don’t have a stop sign.”

The Illinois Farm Bureau recently recommended Rademaker for the Illinois Rural Health Association (IRHA) board of directors.

“IRHA makes sure the voices of small hospitals are heard, that we are working for better overall health in our rural areas, that there are accessible resources for continued growth of both clinical and administrative personnel at rural hospitals,” Rademaker said. “We want to make sure small rural hospitals have many of the resources their urban counterparts do or easy access to them so rural citizens can have the same level of care in their home communities.”

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