Farm Safety Camp Teaches Life Saving Lessons - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Farm Safety Camp Teaches Life Saving Lessons

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A local farm is teaching what to do when heavy machinery and vehicles collide, and the dangers of texting and driving, at farm safety camp. At first glance, it might look like a real accident. In the past 20 years, however, the camp has actually staged the scene about a dozen times. The victims are actors for the day, but the police, fire fighters, and this type of scenario, are very real.

"When we do something like this, we try to make it as real as possible," said Lt. Tony Quinn of the Knoxville Fire Department.

Farm safety camp began with animal and grain bin safety.

"The baby goat kind of screams like a real baby," camper Vicki Johnson said.

Somewhat suddenly, the lessons become even more serious, with a big accident scene showing a realistic outcome -- death.

"Some people think that we're going overboard with young kids," said Pat Hennenfent, the camp's committee chairman. "They're smarter than we think. They know things."

Using a car and combine this year, those involved want to get an important message across.

"Everybody be careful," Lt. Quinn said. "Don't text and drive. Don't drink and drive."

Of course, the campers, ages 8 to 13, aren't old enough to drive, but kids say they understand the message.

"They said don't text and drive because you can cause a wreck," camper Pacie Hook said.

"The one guy was texting on the phone," Johnson said. "Sometimes my mom does it, but I tell her to hand me the phone."

Organizers say they hope it will stick with them, and their parents, for life.

"We want the parents to be there so that as they go home, they can talk about it, and the parent also saw the same thing," Hennenfent said.

He says the accident scenario is also a learning opportunity for local volunteer fire fighters and police officers.

"We have to figure out a lot of different ways to get a victim out of a car, and this is just another way to train, that they could train with a car and a combine," he said.

For example, he says taking the top off the car was beneficial, and kids say they too now know what to do.

"Call 911 if we have an accident ever," Hook said.

Farm safety camp, along with the elements needed to create the accident scene, cost around $9,000 this year. Organizers say a handful of Knox County businesses contributed, supporting the cause.

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