Farmers and first responders working together to help cut down on deadly accidents

First responders and farmers are brought together for emergency training as part of an Ohio State Agricultural Extension program to help cut down on deadly accidents (WSYX/WTTE)

It's a scenario that could happen to any Central Ohio corn farmer: You go up the gravity bin to check on your grain and accidentally fall in. Now you're trapped in the corn, that's like quick sand.

"It happens in an instant,” says Madison County farmer Howard Yoder.

That's what happened to his son on the day before his sixth birthday.

"It's like engraved on my mind. It was over 20 years ago but it was a very traumatic experience," Yoder said.

Thanks to quick thinking Yoder was able to save his son, but not every farm accident in Ohio plays out the same way.

"In the past 10 years there's about 128 folks that lose their life doing what they love to do- farming,” says Dee Jepsen, the state leader for agricultural safety and health at the Ohio State University Extension.

The OSU extension says that agriculture is among the top three most dangerous jobs, next to construction and mining. They say while Ohio does fare better than other states on safety, there's still room to improve. That's why OSU holds safety trainings like Wednesday' for both farmers and the first responders who might get the calls.

"We don't do these every day. It's a high risk, low frequency event and there's a lot of things that could go wrong in the grain,” adds Lieutenant RC Fellows of the Pleasant Valley Fire District.

As Yoder's son prepares to take over the fifth generation of his farm, he'll continue spreading his story of safety to other farmers in Central Ohio. "Safety needs to be job number one for farmers."

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