Another 4th of July has passed, and I was sad to see it go. Our kids were home, out-of-state friends traveled here to visit and our extended family drove over for an evening of food, fun and festivities.
As we sat under the trees in the backyard swapping stories, we got to talking about hauling hay. My favorite memory is how a friend and I would drive her family’s flatbed truck back and forth across the hay fields, while her brothers did the hard work of “bucking” the small, square bales onto the bed. As the drivers, she and I made a penny per bale--which we had to share. Whenever we made four or five dollars, we felt rich.
We were lucky none of us was ever seriously hurt or injured. We got the usual sunburns, cuts and scrapes, but that was it. That wasn’t the case for everyone. My cousin was bitten one time by a copperhead that had been wrapped into the hay during the baling process. When Danny picked up the bale that the snake was hanging out of, it struck him just above the knee. Another time, a family friend had one of his legs crushed when the hay truck he was riding on top of turned too sharply into our neighbor’s driveway, catching his leg between the truck and trees that lined the driveway. Fortunately, both boys survived with their respective legs intact.
Most of us make better decisions on the farm today than we did when I was a kid. We’re much more safety conscious, which is such a good thing. But despite everyone’s best efforts to avoid accidents, they are still part of working and living on the farm. That’s why I want to wrap up by sharing a few safety reminders with you. Even if you already know them, please take a minute to refresh your memory.
First, ensure your own safety. Is it safe to step in and help the person who’s injured?
Second, follow the ABCs:
A: Alert 9-1-1 – You want to get help to the wounded individual asap.
B: Bleeding: Find/expose the bleeding injury.
C: Compress: Apply pressure to the wounded area. The American College of Surgeons prepared the following diagram to help you stop excessive bleeding.