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 A Narrow Escape
 Taking Safety Seriously
Cody Dillabough
Cody grew up in Quesnel on a cow/calf ranch, participating in a 4-H multi-club (livestock, dogs, photography, foods, small engines) from the age of five as a ‘Cloverbud.’ A fourth generation 4-H’er, Cody has been leading this same club for seven years and has made safety engagement a personal priority, following his own frightening incident. Cody took over the daily operations of the family’s Quesnel ranch following his grandfather’s passing in 2010.
Teaching others about Safety at home or on the farm is
a personal mission
for Cody Dillabough.
into our Zoom meeting, I would introduce the topic, then show the video. Two of the most significant challenges I found were the inability to back up the theory with a hands-on task, and with many of our outlying communities having poor internet connectivity, the attendance was much lower. But that is not to say I did not get creative. After each station, we held a quick debrief session with the participants to discuss what they had learned, and since we could not have any hands-on learning, I encouraged each youth to, at their home farms or houses, point out to their parents all the things they did wrong and what they could do to correct them.
I strongly believe that educating our youth, both on-farm and off farm, is the key to our success to help prevent many on-farm injuries and fatalities. I encourage each one of you to reach out to your district Safety Officer, and your club Safety Officer, and get involved with the planning of safety activities in your club and district. Connect with the local youth development staff at theMinistryofAgriculture,andmaybeyou could even host a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in your community!
Growing up as a farm kid had many advantages – from life skills to safety. At a young age, I started working side by side with my grandfather on his cow and calf operation. He consistently taught me the need to be safe, not only around farm equipment but with animals as well. I am sharing this same methodology with my young nephew, as he begins to help with farm related tasks.
The need to be safe hit home with me when I was 13 years old. My friend and I were doubling on an ATV – and maybe we were going a little too fast for our experience level. My friend was driving, and he lost control. We crashed into a freshly built barbed wire fence. I got off lucky with only 25 stitches in my cheek, but my friend was not so lucky. He had 480 stitches in his neck, and the wire missed his jugular vein by less than an eighth of an inch. Talk about scary – watching my best friend almost pass away in front of my eyes. The doctor said if we had not been wearing helmets, we probably both would have lost ourlivesthatday.Itwasfromthatmoment on that I felt a desire to educate not only fellow 4-H members about the need for
safety, but my fellow ranchers as well.
Throughout my years in the 4-H program as a member, I constantly hosted a Farm and Home Safety Walk About. This is part of the amazing program 4-H British Columbia has designed. Not only do members participate by filling out a check sheet and learning about common farm hazards, but they also gain a badge to add to their awards. I also held numerous safety talks at the end of club meetings where we covered a wide variety of topics from safe animal handling to farm implement safety, and general farm safety. Through my latter years of high school, I hosted a field day for my 10 fellow agricultural students, in conjunction with Farm and Ranch Safety Health Association (FARSHA), now known as Ag Safe. We included both the theory and practical elements.
Now as a 4-H leader, I have ramped up my safety education efforts. In conjunction with the teachings offered in the 4-H British Columbia Farm and Home Safety Program, I have held two successful Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, sponsored by the Progressive Agriculture
Foundation. Hosting a Safety Day is a great opportunity to continue to educate not only my 4-H members, but members of the community as well. Topics are not limited to farm safety, but also include other elements such as electrical safety, kitchen safety and many more. In 2019, we even included backwoods safety. For the very first safety day in our community, it was an overwhelming success with just over 80 youth registered – a good mix of both agricultural background and urban. The Safety Day had a hands-on element at every station, which really gave us the opportunity to drive home the theory they had just been taught at their station.
2020 posed many challenges for our Safety Day. The COVID-19 pandemic not only interrupted our everyday lives but brought many community events to a screaming halt. Even though we had extremely strict COVID safety measures in place, we chose, for maximum safety and compliance with Public Health Orders, to host our event using a virtual platform. This decision, however,didnotcomewithoutchallenges. The safety stations were taught via a YouTube link – where participants signed
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