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Hundreds of kids learn their safety ABCs

August 02, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Storm safety, first aid, the dangers of power take-offs (PTOs) and disability awareness were just a few of the topics children learned Wednesday at the Franklin County Farm and Home Safety Day Camp.

More than 300 youths, ages 7 to 18, learned safety tips through hands-on demonstrations at the Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club grounds south of Chambersburg.

One demonstration involved a corn picker and the dangers of PTOs, which are the drive shafts on tractors used to power other machinery.

Children at this station had their wrists hooked up to a device that measured their reaction time against the speed of a PTO.

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"You can't beat it - I don't care how fast you think you are," said Kevin Dice, who works for Chambersburg Farm Service and was doing the demonstration.

Most of the children who volunteered reacted to the PTO in two-tenths of a second or more, meaning they would have lost an arm in the machine, at the least, Dice said.

About 5,000 people each year are injured in farm-related activities in Pennsylvania, which caused temporary work loss, according to Pennsylvania State University's Pennsylvania Impact Web site.

Jere Wingert, coordinator of Farm and Home Safety Camp, lost his leg in a farm accident in 1993.

"If we save one child's life or prevent accidents - it's worth the day," he said.

Crystal Smith-Myer, with AgrAbility of Pennsylvania, taught children at the camp about disability awareness. Buttering crackers using one hand, putting a puzzle together wearing gloves, and wearing goggles to create blurred vision were the demonstrations she used to teach the children.

"It promotes empathy among the children for people coping with injury or long-term illness," Smith-Myer said. "We hope that the kids will understand how difficult it is."

Meteorologist Eric Finkenbinder from ABC 27 News taught children about storm and lightning safety.

"I think a lot of things that happen on farms are based on the weather," he said. "There's a lot of times when guys are out farming during lightning."

Angela Eby, who took her three children to the camp, was surprised to learn that what she always believed was heat lightning does not actually exist.

"I found out that it was just a thunderstorm in the distance," she said.

The Farm and Home Safety Day Camp is sponsored by Penn State Cooperative Extension working with Progressive Agriculture, the national sponsor of the event.

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