Ulster Unionist MLA and party agriculture spokesperson Jo-Anne Dobson has said that following a number of recent high-profile tragic incidences attitudes towards farm safety are changing.
The Upper Bann MLA welcomed the 'sea change' in attitudes following a recent meeting with senior Fire Service officials to discuss farm safety concerns and to view the work which firefighters do to help save lives.
Commenting she said: "I welcomed the opportunity to meet with Fire Service officials following on from a number of recent tragic accidents on farms across Northern Ireland.
"We discussed exactly how firefighters deal with farm accidents and I was pleased to hear that they are seeing a real change in attitudes amongst farming families towards reporting accidents and calling the Fire Service out to help.
"I met with Area Commander John Allen and the guys from the Specialist Rescue Team at Dromore Fire Station. They are often on the front line of dealing with farming accidents and told me of the very difficult and often emotional incidents they are called out to deal with.
"The team are always focused on the human aspect of safety, but they can provide an alternative to farmers risking their lives when an animal gets into danger by using their specialist animal rescue equipment.
"Statistics show that on our local farms the highest number of accidents occur with machinery, followed by injuries caused by animals, then slurry accidents and falls from roofs.
“As in all things, prevention is always better than the cure and it is always important to take steps to reduce the risks.
"I have nothing but admiration for the men and women of the Fire Service who put their lives at risk to help save ours.
"But, I would much rather farmers met them to learn about accident prevention, rather than meet them following an accident on their farm."
Photo: Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson receiving a farm rescue demonstration from Watch Cmdr Eamon McKenna, Crew Cmdr Johnny Dick, and Firefighter Chris Boyd.