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Heart of Ag takes center stage at Health & Safety Roundup

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By Susan Fotovich McCabe

Would you be able to administer CPR to an individual in need? Unfortunately, many Americans are unprepared, but statistics show heart attacks are likely to hit close to home. This year's Health & Safety Roundup at the Western Farm Show will provide attendees with valuable information on what to do if you or someone else goes into cardiac arrest.

According to American Heart Association Metro Executive Director Angie Galindo in Overland Park, Kan., 88 percent of cardiac arrests happen in the home and 70 percent of Americans feel helpless to act. Teaching everyone the simple approach of hands-only CPR is the focus of the American Heart Association's presence at the Western Farm Show's Health & Safety Roundup.

"When people think about learning CPR, they think classes and long explanations. With the hands-only approach, it's simple to learn right at the Western Farm Show," says Galindo. "You can save a life with very limited knowledge. It's about getting it done."

Appropriately themed Heart of Ag, the Feb. 22 to 24 Western Farm Show has partnered with the AHA both in the form of a donation to its My Heart, My Life campaign and by spotlighting heart disease and stroke.

"We are excited to have this new relationship with the American Heart Association, and the opportunity to educate our attendees on the dangers and preventions of heart disease and stroke. We're pleased to make a significant donation to the AHA to help their effort to strike down the number one killer of all Americans," says Western Farm Show Manager Ken Dean.

Minneola, Kan., wheat and cattle farmer Gary Esplund, 74, has taken to heart the importance of cardiac care. Esplund, his father and some of his siblings suffer from heart disease and some have even died from it. When Esplund noticed an uncomfortable feeling in his chest, he went to the doctor several times. After repeated visits and an eventual referral to a heart specialist, Esplund was treated for a 95 percent blockage. Today, Esplund exercises and sees his doctor regularly.

Stories of heart disease and other health problems are common tales for Missouri Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Director Diane Olson. The Missouri Farm Bureau coordinates the Western Farm Show's annual Health & Safety Roundup, which features a number of safety displays and health screenings.

"Almost without exception, someone comes up to us each year at the Health & Safety Roundup and tells us thank you for the screenings because it led them to see a doctor and made a real difference in their life," Olson says.

The Health & Safety Roundup is open to all Western Farm Show attendees throughout the three-day show.

Olson says the Ray County, Mo., Health Department will be on site to provide cholesterol and glucose screenings for a minimal fee of $18; fasting is not required. Blood pressure checks are also free to the crowd. The Missouri Lions will provide free hearing tests, while the Lions Eye Research Foundation will offer free vision screenings. The AHA will have teaching tools available for CPR training.

With an emphasis on improving the quality of life for farmers and rural families, the Farm Show's Health & Safety Roundup includes some unique safety demonstrations and hands-on exhibits. For example, the Missouri Highway Patrol's Rural Crimes Investigation Unit will spotlight the war on drugs, showing farmers how to protect against the theft of agricultural chemicals and supplies used to make methamphetamine and other illegal substances. Joined by the Johnson County, Kan., Sheriff's Department, its officers will explain the department's TRACE Program--Theft Reports of Agricultural and Construction Equipment. Olson says Johnson County's program is similar to an AMBER Alert for farm and construction equipment. KCP&L will discuss the hazards of using farm machinery in the proximity of downed power lines.

The University of Central Missouri will have a large presence at this year's Health & Safety Roundup. Its Institute for Rural Emergency Management will have key supplies to have on hand for tornados, earthquakes and other natural disasters. The university will remind attendees about the importance of its In Case of Emergency program, encouraging attendees to program the acronym ICE into their cell phones to alert law enforcement officials of whom to call if that person has been in an accident.

To set the record straight about safely transporting farm equipment on the road, the Missouri Highway Patrol will take questions from attendees on everything from moving wide loads to proper licensing for agricultural machinery.

Finally, University of Missouri Extension has a number of tips to share with Farm Show attendees, beginning with water quality and usage. In addition, the agency will provide several hands-on demonstrations of grain bin safety, proper shielding of equipment and respiratory precautions. And don't miss its student group's display of one-quarter scale tractors in the Health & Safety Roundup exhibit area.

"Our focus is on saving lives. We know our farmers are the heart of what happens in agriculture, the economy and here in the Midwest," says Olson. "Most farmers know many of these health and safety tips, but it never hurts to be reminded."

Date: 1/28/2013



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