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Living close to lakes, ponds and rivers, many Moniteau County residents will soon leap to enjoy the cool water on a warm day. Proper safety is critical to having good experiences while floating or in a boat.

Fish biologist Scott Williams with Missouri Department of Conservation told 115 California fifth-graders the most important piece of safety equipment on the water is a life jacket.

Williams was one of several presenters May 1 at the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds.

MU Extension and Moniteau County Soil and Water Conservation have organized the event for the county for over 10 years.

"I think it's a great way to expose kids to everyday circumstances they don't think about," said Elaine Anderson, Moniteau County engagement specialist.

Stations on hearing, animal, electric, digging safety and more all provided demonstrations or hands-on activities for youth.

Joni Harper, MU Extension county engagement and agriculture specialist, told students hearing loss can happen at any age.

A tractor with a cab emits 85 decibels of noise. Being on the tractor for eight hours without safety equipment could damage an individual's hearing and cause a constant ringing noise or a muffled sound, she said. Wearing ear muffs or ear plugs near those sounds helps protect against hearing loss, she added.

During an ATV safety demonstration, agriculture engineer Kent Shanon talked to students about weight distribution and hand placement while riding.

Mid-Mo EMT provided ambulance tours to familiarize students with what the emergency responders go through on a call.

At the Co-Mo Electric station, Jimmy Jester and Tom Hulse brought a display of how electricity flows to homes. The lines connects to the substation which communicates to the power station miles away.

Hulse used an action figure, toy cars and real branches to show how power could be stored and distributed without seeing the voltage.

"(Fifth-graders) are at that age where they're starting to understand what this is," Hulse said.

After storms, limbs may be tossed in the road, but people are advised to stay 10 feet away from fallen debris and power lines.

The Progressive Foundation celebrated its 25-year anniversary, offering the program to thousands of students in North America. Soil and Water District manager Clarissa Hayden said these safety lessons in a rural community are life long.

The information could be useful to students on their farm, in 4-H, shooting sports or general activities.

The event was funded by donations from area businesses and the Progressive Foundation.

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