Stay Safe in the Home Stretch!

As one of the industry’s most renowned forage specialists, Corey Catt helps farmers strike that delicate balance between nature, science and technology. Corey is passionate about helping farmers produce healthy meat, milk and eggs. He also is passionate about how food sources affect human health. Corey says that many health maladies are closely related to one’s nutrition and vice versa. And it’s something he’s seen first-hand as a 911 paramedic, providing advanced life support for a large rural community. Corey also works part time in the emergency room at a Regions Hospital Level 1 Trauma Center in St. Paul, Minn.

It’s a proven fact that accidents most often happen close to home.  Keep in mind that more accidents happen when we’re tired, weary or stressed.  Then think about the season we’re in… there are few times during the year when a farmer is more tired than now, as the end of harvest approaches.

“Later” harvests add a bit more stress as farmers worry about getting their crops harvested in a timely manner.  Many farmers will have a tendency to work longer days and at a faster pace to make up for lost time due to recent snow showers and rainfall.  This push and rush to get crops harvested will lead some farmers to cut a few corners that could pose a safety risk.

Keep health and safety your first priority as you head into the home stretch of harvest.  Be sure to obey your body signals, identify the signs of three potentially life-changing emergencies, and take warning signs of a heart attack or stroke seriously.

Something as simple as skipping a meal or forgetting to drink enough liquids could jeopardize your health and wellbeing.  Proper nutrition is key to making good decisions, staying alert and fueling your body.  Not drinking enough liquids can alter your mood, decrease your energy level or affect your ability to think clearly.  That’s why it’s just as important to stay hydrated now as it was during the spring planting season.  Even if you’re body isn’t hot or you’re not thirsty, be sure to keep drinking those liquids!

Also be “heart smart.”  Some common signs of a heart attack are chest pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, extreme fatigue and previous heart history.  Keep a protective eye on friends and family members with whom you’re working in the fields this fall.  If you or someone you observe are experiencing problems, seek medical help promptly.

I know of three farmers, who had heart attacks while in the combine.  Thankfully, each one survived the heart attack because of quick-thinking people around them.  The farmers themselves ignored the warning signs because they were pushing hard to get their fall work complete.  The people around them, however, recognized something was wrong and either convinced that farmer to seek help or found someone to help him.

Most will think, “That will never happen to me.”  And, we hope it doesn’t!  But, the realities of life strike.  Many people will only get one chance to recognize the signs and get help before it’s too late.

In rural America, time is especially of the essence because farmers are often working in remote locations that are difficult or time-consuming to reach.  That’s why I encourage everyone to learn CPR.  CPR and early defibrillation are key to survival of cardiac arrest.

You might even want to purchase an automated external defibrillator for your operation, which you be purchased for around $1,500.  These automated external defibrillators are so simple to use.  The instructions walk a layperson through each step, so all you must do is have the courage to press the “on” button.  JUST DO IT.

The worst thing you can do is to do nothing!  Without proper oxygen for just 4 minutes, the brain can suffer permanent damage.  It can take much longer than that for an ambulance to arrive to help in rural locations.

YOU and good CPR are the link and key component to keeping oxygen circulating, which increase the chance of survival for a loved one, friend or family member.  As this short video on Hands-Only CPR shows, two simple steps can save a life:

  1. Call 911.
  2. Place hands on center of chest; push hard and fast until help arrives.  Push to the beat of the classic song, “Staying Alive.”

Take a minute to watch the Hands-Only CPR video.  If time allows this winter, take a CPR class.  We want all of you to be as safe and healthy as possible!