Area fourth graders received real-world safety tips and participated in interactive scenarios during the first Progressive Ag Safety Day in Marion County on Wednesday, May 16 at Clover Road Christian Church.

Area fourth graders received real-world safety tips and participated in interactive scenarios during the first Progressive Ag Safety Day in Marion County on Wednesday, May 16 at Clover Road Christian Church.

Wyatt Miller, Agronomy Specialist and area County Program Director with University of Missouri Extension, said students visited the church the previous week from Mark Twain Elementary School, Oakwood Elementary School, Eugene Field Elementary School and Palmyra Elementary School. Speakers for the Wednesday event included Missouri State Highway Patrol officials, Hannibal firefighters, Hannibal-LaGrange University nursing students and University of Missouri Extension representatives covered safety topics that are not limited to the field of agriculture — like sun safety, fire safety, a rollover crash simulator, railroad safety, large animal safety and lawn safety.

Miller said that students from A.D. Stowell Elementary School, Veterans Elementary School, Monroe City Elementary School and Ralls County Elementary School each spent 20 minutes at one of the 11 safety stations, asking questions and seeing firsthand how to stay safe in various situations.

“It’s never too early to start teaching safety to kids,” he said. “I think this is a good age where they can understand things and catch on with things.”

In one classroom, Richard Allsbury and Kristine Jamison, representing Railroad Operations with the Missouri Department of Transportation, talked with Monroe City students about railroad safety. After they watched a video, students talked about what they learned. A student remembered that placing items on the tracks could cause the train to derail or the items to fly out like a bullet, and a classmate remembered that they should stay away from train tunnels and bridges.

Jamison noted that the rail network is a vital part of the area, and it’s important to teach railroad safety to youth.

“We’re excited to have the invitation to come, because we really think it’s great to be able to educate even the younger children on train safety,” Jamison said. “It also translates into older siblings, parents and grandparents, as well.”

Just outside, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant Eric Brown demonstrated the safety of wearing a safety belt with a rollover simulator for students from A.D. Stowell Elementary School. The device replicated a rollover collision involving an unbelted dummy in the driver’s seat and a properly restrained dummy in the adjacent child seat. After the truck cab spun around, the dummy flew out of the window, landing on the ground in front of the students with a thud. Brown explained that there is one ticket he never gives warnings for — seatbelt use.

Nearby, another group of students from Stowell School navigated trailer from the Hannibal Fire Department that included kitchen and living room hazards, along with an upstairs bedroom filling with smoke. In the simulation, the children find one of two escape routes in the bedroom and stay low from the smoke as they made their way out, said Firefighter Summy.

“Who doesn’t have smoke detectors?” he asked, as a few hands came up. “That’s your homework tonight. Go home and talk to your parents, tell them to call the Fire Department or the Red Cross, and we will come and install smoke detectors for free for you guys.”

He said that every student who had smoke detectors should remind their parents to check the devices for safety. As the groups of students visited each station, they came away with knowledge that they would remember going forward. Ralls County Elementary School fourth graders Randi Harris and Micah Daniels shared their experiences.

Randi said she learned what happens when a tree falls on a power line and how to stay clear of the danger. Micah said he discovered how to escape the electrical hazard if he was near the line.

“If you want to get away from it, don’t walk with both of your legs — hop,” he said. “Because if you walk, the power could go through you and go out your other leg, and it could kill you easily. But if you hop... it won’t hurt you.”

Fellow fourth grade students Quin Eckler said the PTO safety station was interesting, showing the dangers of a PTO — power take-off, which rotates using a tractor’s mechanical power. He said a Sydenstricker John Deere representative demonstrated the destructive force of blades connected to a tractor’s PTO.

“My favorite was where they showed us how to stay away from the blades in the back of a tractor,” Quin said. “They put a dummy in the back with newspaper in it. He turned the tractor on, and the newspaper just kind of shredded into pieces and went everywhere. It was pretty cool.”

He said that demonstration would remind him to keep a safe distance from PTOs and related equipment. And Quin had advice he wished to share with everyone.

“Always wear your seatbelt when you get in your car, because you don’t know what people are driving out there,” he said.

Miller said organizers hope to make the event a regular occurrence for students in the future. He thanked sponsors FCS Financial, Sydenstricker John Deere, Hannibal Regional and Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, Clover Road Christian Church, Exchange Bank, Culligan, Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District, The Rebel Pig, United States Bank, Commerce Bank, Pepsi, Bleigh Farms, Schwanke’s Directional Drilling LLC, Eddie Lennox with Shelter Insurance, Palmyra Young Farmers, BASF and General Mills for making the comprehensive event a success.

“The support of the community allowed us to do this,” he said, stressing the potential impact for everyone who visited.

“If we prevent one accident or save one life, it’s all worth it.”

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at