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School kids beef up on safety lessons

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“Reach, throw, row, go” is a drowning prevention lesson Chaves County youth learned Friday during Progressive Agriculture Safety Day held at the fairgrounds. If a person nearby appears to be drowning, try to reach them with a paddle. If that doesn’t work, try to throw them a lifejacket or a rope. Then row to them. If necessary, go for help. New Mexico State Park Rangers Amber Martinez and Shawn Fisher led the water safety discussions and demonstrations. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Keeping children safe outdoors and in was the focus of the Progressive Agricultural Safety Days held at the Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds Thursday and Friday.

Xcel Energy employee Kevin Victor demonstrates for area school children the hazards of touching a tree limb on an electrical wire. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

It’s the 20th year that the Chaves County Extension Service has coordinated the educational program for third-graders throughout the county. Extension Agent Andrea Stapp said about 1,000 youth from all public school districts and from All Saints Catholic School and Gateway Christian Academy participated.

Earlier in the week, the Extension Service provided information to fourth-graders about how their food and fibers are produced and about natural resources at the annual Kids & Kows & More field trips at the fairgrounds.

The Agricultural Safety Day is part of a nationwide effort started in 1990 by Progressive Farmer magazine that has involved more than 1.74 million students and teachers. The Chaves County event, one of the longer running and largest ones, included demonstrations and presentations on food safety, water safety, all-terrain vehicle safety, fire safety, firearm safety and chemical safety. Instructors included crews from the Roswell Fire Department, Xcel Energy, the New Mexico Game and Fish Department and the New Mexico State Parks Department.