Friday 9 December 2016

Grassroots diary: Cavan event will focus on first responder skills

Claire McCormack

Published 22/06/2016 | 02:30

Maurice Walsh with salon owners Claire and Nick Reddin.
Maurice Walsh with salon owners Claire and Nick Reddin.

Growing up surrounded by heavy, powerful machinery, I'm well aware of the very real dangers they pose to those who use them on a daily basis.

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But, I must admit, that level of self-awareness has come with age. As a care-free child, full of mischief and a sense of adventure I loved nothing more than climbing up on the biggest, noisiest machine in the yard to play 'turf-cutter' or run my own make-believe garage.

My big brother and little brother were the very same. Looking back, I don't know how our parents kept an eye on us - if it had tracks we were on it, if it had a cab, we were in it.

Thankfully, despite a few close shaves, we never came to any harm.

The ease at which a farm yard or agricultural accident can occur is frightening. Staggering statistics show 2,500 accidents occur every year. While some are minor, others inflect permanent, often life threatening injuries.

To date, the focus of farm safety events and courses have generally centred on raising awareness and reducing risk. While this approach is proving successful, we must accept that even in the best run farms and workplaces accidents will still happen.

On June 23, Teagasc in Cavan will run a special farm accident response course called 'FARM 999'. In addition to highlighting awareness, Niall McCabe, organiser, says the one day course will focus on how to be a first responder if an accident or medical emergency occurs.

"Paramedics talk of the 'golden hour' after an incident happens. What happens in this period has a huge bearing on how well a person will recover and could even make the difference between life and death. Rather than aiming this course solely on the farmer we are targeting it at the farmer and family who often become the first responder almost by default," he said.

The course, sponsored by Poles Co-op in Cavan, will include demonstrations on treating injuries, preventing shock and administering CPR.

"Young people now will be the farmers of the future and better to learn these life skills now rather than later," he said.

Participants must book their place by calling the Teagasc Advisory Office in Ballyhaise on 049-4338300.

On June 12, more than 280 tractors participated in the Shane Brolly Memorial Tractor Run in Donegal. The successful event also remembered farmers Kevin Woods and Seamus Hegarty - both fatally injured in farming accidents in 2014.

Meanwhile, as silage cutting season continues, farmers are being asked to purchase purple wrap and net in aid of the Children's Medical and Research Foundation for Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin.

'Farmer in Charge'

Maurice Walsh is a country man of humble means, used to the odd hair cut twice a year when his tresses get so long he can’t see through them.

So, when the successful dairy farmer from Mitchelstown, Co Cork, was asked to apply his entrepreneurial acumen to a struggling hair and beauty salon in Tallaght as part of RTE business makeover series ‘Farmer in Charge,’  the nerves kicked in.

“I’d no clue it was going to be a hair salon so I was nervous. I’d never done anything like it before but it was fantastic,” he said. His central approach to rejuvenating the salon was focus on quality. “Whether it’s milk, tillage, peas or a haircut, the customer must be satisfied with the product,” said Maurice, who milks 100 cows on his dairy farm everyday.

What shocked him the most? The capital’s metrosexual grooming culture. “Men are worse than women in Dublin for beauty. Fellas were in every week to get the hair done and trim their Conor McGregor beards. Jaysus I wouldn’t have the patience for that,” he laughed. (‘Farmer in Charge’ is available on RTE Player).

* Congratulations to Tullow Macra in Carlow celebrating their 70th anniversary with “a bit of a shindig” at the Mount Wolsey Hotel on Friday.

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