Nebraska Safety Center among those offering free ATV safety courses statewide

Aaron Yoder of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at UNMC demonstrates ATV safety tips on the ATV simulator that will be used in the statewide training courses.
Aaron Yoder of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at UNMC demonstrates ATV safety tips on the ATV simulator that will be used in the statewide training courses.

LINCOLN – The Nebraska Safety Center is among several organizations collaborating to present free training for the public on the safe use of all-terrain vehicles.

The training, developed in response to accidents on and off the farm, includes safety practices such as proper personal protective equipment and a demonstration with an ATV simulator on the proper way to ride.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Nebraska Safety Center, Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at University of Nebraska Medical Center, and University of Nebraska Extension will present training sessions to adults and children in more than 50 cities across Nebraska.

The most common cause of agricultural-related deaths in Nebraska is ATVs and overturned tractors, said Susan Harris-Broomfield, University of Nebraska Extension educator in Kearney and Franklin counties.

According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, ATV accidents in 2016 resulted in seven deaths, 94 hospitalizations and 578 emergency department visits in Nebraska.

“When ATVs tip, people get thrown off and run over,” said Ellen Duysen with College of Public Health and Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at UNMC. “The first parts of the body likely to be impacted are the head and neck. Those who survive rollover incidents may be paralyzed for life. Emergency room personnel are concerned about the senseless injuries and deaths.”

She said most people in rural Nebraska probably know someone who’s had an ATV accident, noting ATVs have gotten larger and more powerful.

“It’s a tragic public health issue,” Duysen said. “We train parents and others about why kids shouldn’t be on these powerful machines. We could significantly reduce death and injury from ATVs in Nebraska if we can keep children and those who haven’t had training off ATVs, but that’s not going to happen so we need to focus on training and education about the risks.”

Tracy Dethlefs, trauma outreach coordinator at CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney, sees ATV injuries firsthand.

“ATV accidents not only can lead to death, but also can cause a variety of injuries that can affect someone for a lifetime. Many of the injuries we are seeing are to adults, using these ATVs for work-related purposes. We as adults need to follow the same safety steps to serve as good examples to follow for all the youth that are learning alongside us.”

Those interested in attending an ATV training class can contact Duysen at 402.552.3394 or ellen.duysen@unmc.edu. Registration is preferred, but drop-ins are welcome.

Central Nebraska Locations for ATV Training:
May 12 – Ft. Kearny Outdoor Expo, Kearney
May 25 – Adams County Fairgrounds, Hastings
May 30 – Buffalo County Fairgrounds, Kearney
June 13 – North Platte West Central Research and Extension Center
June 22 – Red Willow County Fairgrounds, McCooi
July 3-8 – Frank County Fair, Franklin
July 18-22 – Adams County Fair, Hastings
July 22-26 – Kearney County Fair, Minden
Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 – Nebraska State Fair, Grand Island
Sept. 11-13 – Husker Harvest Days, Grand Island

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