Tractor rescue drill hits home

August 03, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

Tractor rescue drill hits home

For Boonsboro farmer Lyle Mellott, a demonstration at Thursday's Western Maryland Ag Field Day on steps to take after a tractor rolls wasn't a hypothetical situation.

In late May, Mellott's nephew, James Gordon Shaull, 55, of Fairplay, died when the John Deere three-wheel farm tractor he was driving rolled over.


Shaull was driving the tractor on uneven ground when the rear tire hit a tree stump and the tractor rolled. Shaull died instantly but his body wasn't discovered for 12 hours, Mellott said.

Mellott, who has injured his foot in a rollover, knew the demonstration wouldn't have helped his nephew, but said he thought it was a good idea because it might help others.


So did David Wyand Jr., facility manager for the Western Maryland Research and Education Center, who was Shaull's neighbor.

They decided on the public demonstration because of recent tractor fatalities and to inform the public, including people new to the farming business, about what to do when a potentially fatal rollover occurs, Wyand said.

It was the first time such a demonstration has been done at the event, which is in its 20th year, he said.

The demonstration at the College of Agricultural and Natural Resource's Agricultural Experiment Station was done by the Boonsboro Ambulance and Rescue Inc. and Williamsport Volunteer Ambulance Co. The companies used their equipment to free a dummy from under a tractor.

Robert Baker said six people have died in seven reported rollovers in the last six months in the Tri-State area.

Baker, a national faculty member for the FARMEDIC National Training Center at New York's Alfred State College, said he travels around the country giving demonstrations on what should be done when a tractor rolls. He covers how rescue companies should go about removing the equipment and what families should do until they arrive.

It is not unusual for it to take more than 30 minutes to move a tractor off a victim, he said.

People should leave the rescue efforts to rescue companies, Baker said.

About 75 people watched the demonstration. In response to a question by Baker, about 15 people said they knew someone who had been injured or killed in a rollover.

Also Thursday, commercial and noncommerical organizations had exhibits and gave out information on agriculture-related issues.

There were also programs for families, including one on herbal and nonherbal supplements.

Jennifer Thorn, an extension educator in Allegany County, Md., said it is estimated that 76 million Americans take herbal supplements, which is a $6 billion a year business.

Since neither the quality nor the effects of the supplements are monitored, people should be careful about using them, she said.

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