FALL FROM WALNUT TREES| Authorities issue advisory amid rising accidental deaths

FALL FROM WALNUT TREES| Authorities issue advisory amid rising accidental deaths
A farmer detaches walnuts from walnut tress in north Kashmir. [File]Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: The government has come up with an advisory after the rise in accidental deaths of the people due to fall from walnut trees.

The harvesting season of walnut, a major horticulture produce of Kashmir, commences in late August and continues through the month of September.

Amid the rising number of accidental deaths due to fall from walnut trees, Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management department issued fresh dos and don’ts to avoid casualties during the ongoing walnut harvest season.

The advisory mostly calls for safety measures to avoid any such tragic incidents in the future.

During the last 10 days, at least six persons lost their lives while many were injured due to fall from walnut trees in different areas of Kashmir.

Experts said that it was due to the crude traditional methods applied in the walnut harvest that many people fall from trees, resulting in death or injuries.

They said that if the farmers were educated and used more scientific methods based on common sense, many lives could be saved.

In a statement, the State Emergency Operation Centre said that it had become an occupational hazard for the traditional walnut farmers.

“If precautions are not taken, falling from height can cause serious spinal injuries,” it reads. “General public, particularly the walnut farmers, are requested to kindly adhere to the safety measures to avoid any further such accidental deaths.”

The advisory said that only experienced and trained persons should climb the walnut trees during harvest and urged them to use a helmet while tying a properly anchored safety harness rope to break the fall.

It said that use of a sturdy and durable thick rope should be ensured besides using tall ladders to climb the trees.

The farmers have been advised to wear non-slip boots and to check weather forecasts by the IMD before planning for the harvest.

The advisory asked the people not to use long metal poles to harvest the trees, as accidental contact with electric lines could result in electrocution, serious injury or death.

“Remove logs, stones, boulders around the base of the tree to reduce risk. Use safety nets or thick stacks of hay, around the tree, to prevent injury in case of accidental fall. Ensure a stable and firm position before beating the walnuts. Learn basic first-aid from the nearest Civil Defence unit or health centre,” the advisory said.

It said that in case anyone gets injured, they should be administered immediate first aid and the injured should be carried on hard wooden planks or a hard stretcher to the nearest health centre.

“Mishandling the injured can cause damages, which can be fatal,” the advisory said. “Carry your cell phone with you to call for assistance in case of an accident and call 102 for immediate medical assistance and ambulance service.”

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