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Students attend farm safety awareness day

It took less than 2 seconds to fry a hotdog that came in contact with 20,000 volts of electricity, Karson Higgins said after watching a demonstration from the Midwest Energy Lineman James Wright.
The hotdog was a “finger” on a mannequin set up for a safety lesson. The dummy’s melon “head” exploded when it came in contact with the same voltage.
Higgins and his classmates from Great Bend High School’s FFA (Future Farmers of America) were among more than 100 area students attending Barton County Farm Bureau’s Farm Safety Awareness Day, Wednesday at Barton Community College.
Every two years, BCFB sponsors this day-long program at Barton’s Case IH training building. BCFB President Tim Maier said most of the presenters and helpers were volunteers. Officers from Barton’s collegiate Farm Bureau chapter were among the volunteers.
Kurt Werth and Chris Long from K-State Research and Extension talked about all-terrain vehicle and utility task vehicle safety before Shawn Evans shared his personal story with the students; his son Cael Scott Evans passed away on Aug. 26, 2015, from an ATV accident south of Russell.
Jacque Beckman from Nex-Tech also had a personal story during her presentation on the dangers of driving while distracted — especially texting. In 2006 one of her coworkers died when he pulled into an intersection and his vehicle was hit by a tractor-trailer.
“Witnesses say he never saw the semi that was coming,” Beckman said. “He was on his phone. ... It happened in an instant.”
A video featured another true story about a young woman who lost control of a car while texting with a friend as she drove. The last exchange, in which she simply texted the response “k,” ended in tragedy, Beckman said.
After her presentation students were invited to drive golf carts around a course marked by orange cones. They worked in pairs and were told to send texts to one another throughout the experiment. While most managed to avoid going off-course, Beckman reminded them that a car going 65 miles per hour travels the length of a football field in 3 seconds.
Students were challenged to sign a pledge to never text and drive.
Dr. Ty Brunswig from Animal Medical Center in Great Bend talked about safety around farm animals, including the right and wrong way to move cattle in a chute.
“Always have a way out,” Brunswig said. “Know where your gates are and position them so you can separate yourself from the animal.” He also noted that experience is important.
“Learn to watch animals’ eyes and their demeanor,” he said. “If you don’t know how to read animals you shouldn’t be doing it by yourself. Pay attention to everything around you.”
Fire Inspector Mark Orth from the Great Bend Fire Department invited students to extinguish a digital “fire” using the GBFD electronic extinguisher, a training tool purchased last year.
After a lunch provided compliments of Bartlett Grain, students heard a few remarks from Dr. Vic Martin, director of the BCC Ag Program, and from Kansas Farm Bureau’s Matt McCabe.