MV Co-op hosts informative safety day

MONTE VISTA—The 15th Annual Farm Safety Day, hosted by Monte Vista Co-op (MVC) and sponsored by Progressive Agriculture, was held at Ski Hi Park last Thursday, April 27.

More than 325 San Luis Valley third graders and 26 school staff members attended the event from several school districts, including Monte Vista, Sargent, Sangre de Cristo, Sanford, North Conejos, South Conejos, Sierra Grande, Moffat, Mountain Valley, Center and homeschooled students. The farm safety day included numerous interactive, informative presentations from representatives of community organizations and was sponsored by several local businesses as well.

The events began with a presentation by Colorado State Patrol Trooper Gary Allen, who discussed the importance of wearing seat belts and adhering to age and size appropriate booster seat requirements and reminded students that the safest place for them was always in the backseat. To emphasize his seat belt point Allen used a roll-over simulator, a converted truck cab that rotated when spun, simulating a roll-over accident. Allen included a dummy, who the students dubbed “Bob,” and demonstrated how easy it is was for Bob to be ejected from the cab during a rollover accident versus the relatively minor injuries he would sustain if properly wearing his seat belt.

Students asked Allen a variety of questions including the likelihood of seat belts breaking during an accident, which Allen assured them, was highly unlikely if not entirely impossible and about convertible cars rolling over, which Allen answered, is less likely because convertible cars are intentionally designed heavier.

The students then were separated into six groups and went to a variety of demonstrations. A tractor safety demonstration was conducted by employees of the Monte Vista Co-op, telling students about the basic parts of a tractor, where to ride on a tractor and informing them about the potentially fatal injuries that could be sustained by playing on tractors and other equipment and disregarding safety guidelines. Similarly, a 4-wheeler/OHV safety demonstration was also conducted by 4H and FFA students, who used raw eggs to demonstrate brain damage that can be sustained in an accident if the operators and passengers aren’t wearing helmets. This demonstration also taught other safety basics, including not adding passengers to vehicles that did have room for them and maintaining awareness when riding on or operating these vehicles

A grain safety demonstration was hosted by members of local 4H and FFA chapters. Students were given the opportunity to lift a large amount of grain, to emphasize its weight, which the third graders naturally struggled with. The students were then taught about the importance of safety when working around grain elevators and silos, with a mini-elevator and a small action figure demonstrating how easily a person can be sucked down into grain, especially when the elevator is operational.

A sun safety booth emphasized the “Slip, Slap, Slop, Seek, Slide” method of sun safety: Slip on extra protective layers of clothing, slap on a hat, slop on sunscreen, seek shade and slide on sunglasses. The students were given an ultraviolet bracelet to demonstrate how quickly they can be burned in the sun, and were told to reapply SPF 30 sunscreen every two hours when they are outside.

The SLV REC and 811 had a booth around one of their cherry picker trucks and taught students about the dangers of downed power lines and electricity. They provided the students with activity books about safety around electricity and power lines and gave them a color code card for line markers, so students would know in the future when they saw lines marked with different colors, what those lines were (electric, gas, phone, etc.) Monte Vista Co-op employees also conducted a propane and natural gas demonstration that included students by having them smell packets that replicated a natural gas leak and emphasized the importance of avoiding potentially explosive gases.

Local 4-H and FFA students also hosted a colorful chemical safety demonstration with a variety of liquids in similar-looking jars. The demonstrators would hold up two jars with liquids inside that appeared to be the same and asked students to guess what they were. In one example, two jars with identical bright blue liquids were held up, which were a popular sports drink and window washing fluid. Students were reminded about the importance of avoiding poisoning or other accidents by not handling unlabeled chemicals.

This was the first year that the MVC furnished lunch for all of the students and presenters and this year was also one of the largest groups of students to attend. The MVC obtained a matching funds grant from the CHS Foundation. Daren Bolt from Farmers Union Insurance also purchased granola bars as a snack, and Progressive Agriculture provided t-shirts for each student and goody bags.

The Monte Vista Co-op would like to extend their thanks to all of the students, teachers, school staff, presenters and community members whose dedication and participation made this event another educational success.

They would also like to thank their sponsors: 3M-Iron Mountain Inc., 4-H students, Century Financial, CHS, CIA-Leavitt Insurance Agency, City of Monte Vista, CoBank, Colorado 811, Colorado Propane Gas Association, Colorado State Patrol, community members, CSU Extension Office, Dairy Queen, Daren Bolt, Del Norte Bank, Dell’s Insurance Agency, Dr. Brian Roberts, Dr. Steve Schiffer, Farm Credit of Southern Colorado, FFA students, Franis Kessler, Grandma’s Depot, Jack’s Market- Del Norte, John Deere, Keith Wacker, KSLV, Mike Sechrist, Monte Vista Cooperative, Monte Vista Fire Department, Monte Vista Kiwanis, National Sponsors, Progressive Agriculture, Rio Grande County Commissioners, Rio Grande County Farm Bureau, Rio Grande County Public Health, Rio Grande County Sheriff’s Office, Rio Grande National Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Poison Center, Safety Day Coordinators, Saguache County Farm Bureau, San Luis Valley Antique Tractor Club, San Luis Valley Rural Electric, SLV Cattlemen’s Association, Sunflour Bakery, Valley Meat, Valley Publishing, Waste Management and anyone they may have mistakenly forgotten.

Caption: SP Trooper Gary Allen takes questions from the third graders in attendance. Courtesy photo