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JORDAN — Despite the picturesque images farms may conjure, the agricultural industry is fraught with danger.

That's why the Elbridge Fire Department wanted to get involved in a training for emergency situations, farm first aid and quelling potential hazards before they happen, chief Paul Czarnecki said. Personnel from the Elbridge, Howlett Hill and Warners-Memphis fire departments and agriculture professionals attended the training at the Elbridge fire station Saturday.

People from organizations such as the National Farm Medicine Center and the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health spoke at the event before everyone headed out to Blume Again Dairy facility for a tour. People split into groups to inspect different parts of the Jordan farm, determining the safety of elements such as tractors, looking at factors such as if there are protective features on it, the quality of the equipment and the amount of dirt on it. 

Farm co-owner Doug Blumer said he believes it's important for safety personnel and the general public to be aware of possible hazards on a farm. While he noted even minor incidents can happen at any farm, he said that he once got stuck in a grain bin. Even though he was fine afterward and people were there to help him, he acknowledged that he should have had a rope with him at the time. Blumer said he wants firefighters to have information to keep them safe during a farm emergency and to avoid accidentally getting someone else hurt. 

"I think it's important for first responders and other people like that to have the knowledge of standards involved in a working farmstead," Blumer said.

Earlier at the training at the Elbridge station, Casper Bendixsen, associate research scientist with the medicine center, talked about resources such as a website  with digital maps of farms so personnel can familiarize themselves themselves with the area. Jim Carrabba, agricultural safety specialist with the center for agricultural medicine, gave suggestions for first responders such as assessing if a scene is safe to approach.

For example, if a tractor has toppled over on top on someone, Carrabba said, it is important to see if the machine is still on and moving or not. Carrabba and Bendixsen said they believe it is critical for farmers to identify possible issues before they occur, as they said measures such as safety guards on a tractor can potentially decide whether someone will survive a hazard or not.

Czarnecki said he wants the department to be able to work with farmers to identify identify potential safety issues on farms, ways those elements can be addressed and to get an idea of a farm's layout so personnel will be able to know their way around and handle a possible problem safely. He said he believes it is important for firefighters and firefighters to work together on safety concerns.

"We're trying to build a trust and help for them so they trust us to come on and help them find a safer way to do what they've been doing," Czarnecki said.

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Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or kelly.rocheleau@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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