'You don't want a helicopter landing in your field' - Farm safety campaign launched

'You don't want a helicopter landing in your field' - Farm safety campaign launched

(Left to right) Micheal Sheridan, CEO of Irish Community Air Ambulance, and John Keane, President of Macra na Feirme. “Our message to farmers is to please think of risk as they go about their day."

The Irish Community Air Ambulance (ICAA) and Macra na Feirme have launched a joint safety campaign urging farmers to farm safely this summer.

ICAA CEO Michéal Sheridan said as a rule, the air ambulance and its crew are only ever called to the most serious incidents where patients have suffered significant trauma.

“Our message to farmers, in conjunction with Macra na Feirme, is to please think of risk as they go about their day," he said.

"Our message is simple. Irish farms are a great place to land a helicopter - you just don’t want it to be our air ambulance.”

The launch of the online safety campaign comes ahead of what's expected to be a busy silage season, which combined with increased traffic on the roads and more children moving about farms, increases the likelihood of serious incidents that could result in the air ambulance being tasked to rural locations.

July is the busiest month for the air ambulance, with road traffic accidents accounting for most of its call-outs.

But 38 of the service’s 233 taskings so far this year have been to farming-related incidents involving PTO shafts, machinery, falls from heights and animal attacks.

Farming accounts for over 40% of all fatal workplace incidents nationwide.

While Cork, Kerry, Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford are the counties most likely to require the air ambulance, the helicopter has also tasked to Kilkenny, Wexford, Wicklow and Galway.

The new social media campaign highlights that while the air ambulance service is available to those in need, exercising care and engaging in best practice can dramatically reduce the risk of incident.

Macra president, John Keane, said farmers are aware of the many dangers on the farm and always endeavour to ensure these risks are mitigated.

“However, we know that accidents are going to happen in the weeks ahead, and we are appealing to people living in rural Ireland to stop and think about what they are doing, and whether it is safe," he said.

"Not every accident will result in death, but many cause serious injury and all cause disruption. We are grateful that the Irish Community Air Ambulance service can respond, but the question for farmers is simple. How would you feel if it had to land in one of your fields?” 

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