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Bitter cold is a challenge out on the farm
The cold is the same beyond city lights, and people, and more in rural northeast Ohio have to cope

Tim Rudell
Father and three-year-old daughter take a chilly taboggan ride in rural Stark County
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In The Region:

Warm up shelters, emergency transportation, and services of all sorts are available in urban areas to deal with extreme cold.  But northeast Ohio is as much rural as it is urban.  WKSU’s Tim Rudell talks with an expert on emergency services for a deep freeze like this out in the countryside.

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So far so good
Dr. Dee Jepsen is a professor of agriculture at Ohio State University.  She also head the Ohio’s Agriculture Safety and Health Program.  She says that most of the services available to people in urban areas in times of extreme cold are available in rural areas too.  But, the first responders are typically volunteer firemen, sheriff’s deputies and safety personnel who patrol the county.  She says that in this latest cold snap there haven't been any serious issues.“So far we have not had any reports in our State safety office of anything tragic happening during or because of the cold weather.”

Show must go on
Of course, farmers can’t take the day off because it’s too cold…the cows still have to be milked and feed gotten down from the silo and so forth.  Dr. Jepsen says working outdoors, especially when trying to deal with equipment like a frozen silage unloader high up and in slippery conditions, is inherently risky.  And it can force overexposure to the cold. “Hypothermia is one of the big worries we have in terms of the safety of farm workers.”

Distance means time
While all or nearly all of the same help and emergency service that is available in cities is available in the country too, it can often involve a much longer response time.  “That golden hour for rural families can be shortened a lot by the remoteness of a location,”

Family and friends
And Dr. Jepsen says, in extreme weather situations, like the recent cold snap, the tradition in rural areas of people working together, pooling resources, like generators and equipment, and looking after each other is the real key to getting through without serious problems.

Related WKSU Stories

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Bitter cold temps prompt advice on how to stay warm and stay safe
Monday, January 6, 2014

FirstEnergy urges customers to call about outages ASAP
Monday, January 6, 2014

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