"IMBY" Toolkit

  • Lehtola, Carol;
  • Brown, Charles

The "IMBY" Toolkit gives guidelines about creating a community-based safety workshop. It is designed to include the "Rhythm of the Seasons" lesson plan, which can also be found on NASD. The toolkit guidelines are general, however, and it can be useful for anyone that wants to develop a community-based teaching event.

This document is CIR 1438, one of a series of Florida AgSafe, a program in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida. First published April 2003. Additional copies of this publication are available at the Florida AgSafe Web site: http://www.flagsafe.ufl.edu. For the complete range of publications available from the Florida Cooperative Extension Services, please visit the EDIS Web site: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu

The authors - Carol J. Lehtola, associate professor and State Extension Agricultural Safety Specialist, and Charles M. Brown, Coordinator for Information/Publication Services, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.

IFAS, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other Extension publications, contact you county Cooperative Extension Service office.

Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor, Waddill, Dean.



This publication provides guidance and materials to help implement a safety workshop using the video "Rhythm of the Seasons: A Journey Beyond Loss" and the In My Back Yard (IMBY) Home and Farm Hazard Hunt workbook. These guidelines also can be useful for developing other safety events.

A specific lesson plan for the IMBY Workshop is provided in a companion publication, "Rhythm of the Seasons: Planting Seeds of Safety, Harvesting Grains of Hope - A Lesson Plan for Farm Safety Audiences" (see the Resources section of this publication).

In this publication, putting the IMBY event together is broken out into a series of specific tasks:
    Task 1 - Putting together a team to develop the event
    Task 2 - Identify community resources
    Task 3 - Develop community support
    Task 4 - Schedule and publicize the event
    Task 5 - Conduct the event
    Task 6 - Evaluate the effort
In addition to guidelines for each task, a series of forms - the toolkit - is provided, which organizers can use as given or customize for specific communities, audiences, or events. The toolkit includes:
  • Key Contact List (who can help and how can they help)
  • Kick-Off Meeting
  • Suggested Agenda for Kick-Off Meeting
  • Marketing and Publicizing the Project
  • IMBY Invitation (sample; download at Florida AgSafe Web site)
  • Letter of Invitation for Participants
  • Letter of Invitation for Supporters
  • Press Release (before event)
  • Press Release (after event)
  • Participant's Evaluation
  • Certificate of Completion (color version available on Florida AgSafe Web site)
  • Follow-up Meeting
The goal of the IMBY activity - as in any educational effort - is to change people's behaviors. To achieve this, the activity must accomplish a short list of goals:
  • Make people aware that unintentional injuries and deaths are preventable.
  • Give information about the specific nature of the hazards.
  • Give information about eliminating hazards.
  • Provide a procedure for hazard identification and elimination.
Suddenly Aware of Safety

Often, people are not very aware of safety. As long as nothing "bad" happens to them, they tend to feel that they are safe enough, but the elements of a hazard that can lead to serious injury or death might be all around them, waiting to spring shut like a trap. Agricultural work has many such hazards, but these hazards are well known from a long history of careful study. Some of them are obvious, but farmers are used to working around them and "factor them in" during their work day - perhaps they feel that certain hazards are just part of the job. Other hazards are not obvious, and are encountered suddenly when a worker is thrown into an unfamiliar situation. Obvious or not, it only makes sense to learn what the hazards of any job or workplace are and do something about them.

Hazards lead to what are often called accidents, but for purposes of this publication, the term "incident" will be used. It is an important choice of terms, because the word "accident" implies that nothing could have been done to prevent the injury or death... and nothing could be farther from the truth. The great majority of farm injuries and deaths can be prevented through the elimination of hazards and incorporation of better safety practices. More often than not, incidents are "accidents waiting to happen," that is to say that when people think back over the circumstances of an incident, it becomes clear that somewhere in the chain of events that led to a death or injury, there was an act of carelessness or some equipment that should have been repaired or replaced.

Until someone is injured or killed, farmers, their families and employees often accept the status quo. But when a community is shaken by the loss of a hardworking farmer or tragic injuries to a child in a farm incident, there's a moment when everyone asks "how did this happen". That's a teachable moment, and it may not last long. Community energy will soon turn to supporting the family in their loss or in paying their medical bills, and the prevention questions, "How did this happen" and "How can we keep it from happening again," will be replaced by the feelings of inevitability, "These things happen" and "Life moves on."

Seize the Moment

It does not necessarily take an incident to get the ball rolling. Anyone who cares about safety around the farm and home can initiate a community safety event, but supporters and helpers will be needed.

Supporters and helpers do more than make the event happen, they are a critical part of community acceptance and involvement of the activity and its message. Many studies have found that this community-based approach is the most successful. Studies have also indicated that people seek safety information from community businesses and various professionals. The involvement of these key people will encourage others to participate in the event.

Task 1: Assemble a Committee

One person probably cannot and should not try to develop and conduct the workshop on their own. Instead, that person should find other people who share this concern and form a committee to develop and deliver the safety event to the community. This group then:
  • Decides on its goal (in this case, developing a safety event)
  • Identifies the individual tasks that must be done to accomplish this goal
  • Divides responsibility for the tasks
  • Follow through to complete each task
It is important for committee members to have good communication through regular meetings (formal or informal) or conversations as the project develops. If this is the first such event the committee has put together, it is a good idea to keep the arrangements fairly simple. Enthusiasm can lead to some elaborate planning, but stay focused on the goal of delivering a successful safety event.

Task 2: Identify Community Resources

There are many organizations in any community that have a vested interest in the health and well-being of farmers and farm families. There's the medical community, the business community, the insurance community, and of course, the farmers themselves. All of these groups know that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," but often their professional focus is on the cure, and they do not become involved with someone's health and safety until it has already been compromised. Motivation - and a little organization - is needed to get community members focused on prevention.

Community resources can help in all sorts of ways with a safety event. They can:
  • Provide a venue
  • Contribute money to defray costs
  • Contribute favors, giveaways, prizes, or rewards
  • Send participants to the event
  • Provide volunteers
  • Promote the event
Use the Key Contact List included in the toolkit to identify individuals and organizations in the community that might have some interest in the safety event. Do not assume that anyone is too busy, too important, etc. - you never know until you ask! It can be surprising who will think the event is a great idea AND is eager to make a contribution of some kind.

The toolkit contains a sample Letter for Supporters that can be used as a model. Make up a letter requesting support based on the one provided. It is very important to follow up on these letters. Try to follow up with potential supporters by phone. There might be some negative answers, but there will also be positive answers. Think of it this way: Calling people makes it easier for them to say yes.

Task 3: Develop Community Support

Making the contacts

The committee members have to get down to real work at this point. They will have to decide who is going to contact whom on the Contact List. Let contacts know exactly what the event will include, and if they are interested, tell them that they will be contacted again to send a representative to the Kick-Off organizational meeting.

When calling contacts about farm safety, it is helpful to remember that the statistics have already done some of the work. Almost everyone in a farming community will know someone who has suffered a severe incident, and therefore will understand the need for the event.

It is important to make clear that the event is not an effort by one faction of the community to "teach" another faction, but it is something that the entire community can come together on.

The Kick-Off Meeting

The Kick-Off meeting is an opportunity for the committee and other interested persons - volunteers and supporters - to get together. In the toolkit, there are two forms that pertain to the Kick-Off Meeting: a schedule form and an agenda.

On the schedule form, several objectives for the Kick-Off Meeting are listed:
  • Expand awareness of the issues
  • Clarify program objectives and procedures
  • Provide technical support by introducing resources available locally
  • Provide a social support network of peers and community
  • Reinforce information presented in program materials
  • Develop sense of program ownership
  • Identify effective program marketing strategies
Be sure to invite your resource organizations and businesses to send representatives. Make them part of the event from the beginning and let them know how important they are to the effort. This helps them to develop a feeling of "ownership" of the event, and helps motivate them in working with the planning.

Keep the meeting moving. There will be a lot of decisions to make, but remember to get specific about the work that needs to be done, and get it assigned.

Think in terms of the specific parts of the event and get volunteers to take responsibility for getting each task done.

Task 4: Schedule and Publicize the Event

Scheduling the Event

Be aware of the intended audience. The event might be less successful if it is for "everyone" than if there are specific groups that can be targeted. Having those groups in mind can help in picking a good time for the event Be aware of other events, such as holidays or sport, civic, or professional events. Other events can work for or against the safety event. If the safety event is at the same time as a big sports event, it might be that most people will attend that event or stay home and watch it on television. But other events that are safety or civic related might make good partners. An event for children might give parents a couple of hours when they could attend the IMBY workshop.

Surely, the committee is "fired up" about safety, and they want to get the word out now. But each step leading up to the event needs to be given proper time. Although the safety event is important, not everyone will have the same sense of urgency, and it takes time for the committee to get information, make decisions, and do the work. All of this is probably being done by volunteers who have other things going on in their lives. There needs to be plenty of lead time, as well, to get the word out through the media.

Marketing and Publicizing the Project

The toolkit contains a form to help you market and publicize the event. Marketing and publicity are different activities, but they work hand-in-hand.

Identify Target Audiences - Those who know how important the message of the safety event is will want everyone to participate, so why not invite everyone? Realistically, there will be a limited budget, limited time, limited volunteers, and limited space. The event will be more successful if the people who need the message most and are most interested are there - these people are your target audiences. In a particular community, maybe it is farm parents, or homeowners, or farmers, or employers, or suppliers, and so on. Maybe the event should target several of these audiences. Sit down with the committee and think through who the target audiences in their community for this particular event should be.

Develop a Marketing Strategy - Once a list of the target audiences has been made, what is needed is a strategy for reaching them. Think it through from their point of view: What media do they tend to use to get information? What media or personalities do they find most believable? These are marketing questions. Once they are answered, think about how best to use the media you've decided on and how to actually get the message to these people. Those are publicity issues.

Marketing is about who to get the message to and what the message should be. Publicity is the work of actually getting the message to the target audiences.

Marketing can help decide what to include in publicity. Is the main goal to attract farmers to the event? How about businesses or employers? Many people might be interested in the event if a local personality is involved in some way. People attend events for all sorts of reasons. Knowing something about what those reasons are and making sure they are mentioned in the event publicity is an important part of marketing.

What are some of these reasons to attend? Sit down with the committee and discuss what would get their interest and really encourage them to attend. Write these ideas down as elements for event publicity. These are good "talking points" as well if committee members are interviewed by a reporter or want to write an article for a newsletter or newspaper.

Get the Word Out - With publicity, the goal is to tell people about the event. An ad in the local paper or maybe a message on local television or radio are good ideas. (Note: Ads usually cost money; it's cheaper to try and get the local media to do a story about the event.) Recent community incidents were probably reported through one of these media; since the media report when there is a problem, it seems only reasonable that they should report when there is a solution. That is exactly what the safety event is: it is part of a solution. Many newspapers and television news broadcasts have a "neighbors" section or a "good news" section that might be perfect for a story about a community-sponsored safety event. Keep in mind that media are very "image" driven, that means they like to have pictures. If your story comes with some good visuals, it is much more likely to be covered. For example, if a local youth group is going to get together to address invitations to the event, call the local television station and let them know. A little video footage of happy volunteers working on a worthwhile project might be just what they are looking for to cap off the evening news.

The toolkit contains a form to help plan marketing and publicity. When you've decided on target audiences, think about specific media that reach that audience; write that under medium on the form. What does that medium require? A 20-second script, a few photographs, an interview? What committee member can make it happen? (It's helpful if someone on the committee has a contact at the radio station, newspaper, etc.)

Target Individuals with Invitations
- So far, publicity has been presented in terms of mass media. When the message gets into the newspaper or onto radio, whoever hears or reads it gets the message. However, if a list of names exists, as for a religious or civic group, invitations can be sent directly to potential event participants. The toolkit contains an Invitation for Participants, which can be used as a model.

Invitations can be helpful to mobilize groups that wish to help. Groups need specific projects, and one way they can help is to photocopy, address and distribute invitations. For example, a youth group at a church may want to have a get-together to sign and address invitations to the rest of the members of the church. Invitations can be effective when used within a group because people are more likely to take an interest in something if people they know and feel they have something in common with are already interested.

Positive Emphasis

When people become aware of how preventable most farm injuries or deaths are, they will probably wonder "why doesn't somebody do something about this?" The facts about preventable injury and death can cause anger and indignation. Those are appropriate feelings when lives are being needlessly damaged or lost. However, these feelings may not be the most productive for motivating people to attend your event.

As justified as anger or outrage may be, other people may associate these expressions with bad feelings or guilt. People usually do not want to feel bad and instinctively withdraw from messages that make them feel that way. Also, when the subject is death or injury, many people do not want to think about the possibility of these things happening. It may seem childish to some, but many people do not like to think about something they wish will never happen.

The point is to channel energy about this important subject into positive expressions. Talk about solutions. Help people feel that the event empowers them to make a positive change in their lives and in the lives of the people around them. Safety is more than preventing death and injury, it is also about taking a positive, proactive approach to life. Having a safety attitude does not mean worrying more, it means being more aware and taking appropriate precautions. That should allow people to worry less.

Messages about death and injury should be appropriately serious, but when they are too emotional, people can feel manipulated and turn off the message. If they do not want the message, surely they will not attend the event to hear more of the same.

The centerpiece of the IMBY workshop is a video in which something very sad happens - a child dies. In the video, viewers are brought face-to-face with the mother of this child. Many viewers will be moved to tears. However, the video does not end with a tragic loss and anguish. The video takes the viewer through the recovery experience as well. The video is not a lecture about grief; the idea is to point the way to recovery and finding purpose and meaning in life again after a great loss.

Adults probably already realize that preventable death and injury are sad, tragic events, but many people will retreat to a position of "what can we do?" What people may not realize is that "preventable" means just that - there is something they can do.

Get Practical

This happens all the time... someone prepares a great ad for the local paper about an event and they forget to include the time or place. When preparing publicity, ask other committee members to review the details of ads, articles, talking points, or speeches.

If the committee had unlimited funds, it could do all sorts of publicity, fly in celebrities, etc., but usually committees for safety events are working with small budgets, so it is very important to identify potentially free or low cost forms of advertising. Photocopy a flier and post them in the windows of businesses where the people who would be most interested in the event will see them. Businesses, religious groups, civic groups - all these are possibilities.

Press Releases

A common way for organizations to inform the press about activities is through press releases. A press release is a "heads up" for news organizations. The idea of a press release is to entice a news organization into doing a story about an interesting local event. It invites them to contact the organization for more information. Press releases are often distributed by fax, but mail or hand delivery work just as well. Send your press release to every media representative you can think of - local newspapers, television and radio stations, local magazines, weeklies, etc. Try to send it to a specific staff person if possible, and preferably, someone who has a definite interest in your event.

The toolkit contains two press releases. The first one goes out before the event to let the press know that it is going to happen, and the second goes out after the event to let the press know that the event happened and what its successes were. If might be that the event doesn't capture someone's imagination before it takes place, but an interesting event can create "buzz", and media may be more interested in it after it has created some interest. This follow-up press release is another way to get out the message.

Task 5: Conduct the Event

A lesson plan for the workshop itself is contained in a separate publication titled "Rhythm of the Seasons: Planting Seeds of Safety, Harvesting Grains of Hope - A Lesson Plan for Farm Safety Audiences." See the Resources section of this publication.

The toolkit provides two forms that may be useful at the conclusion of the event. People may make verbal comments about the event, but it is helpful if they evaluate the safety event on a simple form. It is not necessary to try to get lengthy answers. The Evaluation Form provided encourages participants to give quick impressions of the event they have just experienced. Compiling these evaluations can be very informative and probably very encouraging. Having evaluations is more helpful generally than committee members comparing impressions.

Evaluations are also helpful as a formal way of showing that the event was well received and had a positive impact. That kind of proof will be very useful when you need support for your next event. Quotes taken from the evaluations can be useful in follow-up publicity.

The toolkit also contains a Certificate of Completion. Use the certificate as is or use it as a model. Some committees make arrangements for these certificates to be ready for participants as they leave, but others send the certificates to the participants in the days after the event. The certificate can be significant to some people, for others it represents appreciation for their attendance. It is like a thank-you note, and reminds people that the event was a positive and beneficial experience. If people post the certificate - on a refrigerator at home or in a workplace - it then becomes a form of publicity for family members, friends, and coworkers. (A color version of the certificate is available on the Florida AgSafe Web site.)

Task 6: The Follow-Up Meeting

Last but not least, the toolkit contains an agenda for the follow-up meeting. Have this meeting as soon after the event as possible, while everyone's experience is fresh. The follow-up meeting is very important.

The follow-up meeting is a chance for committee members to discuss with one another what they have accomplished, ask specific questions of resource people, develop further action plans specific to their community, evaluate what they have learned and changed, make recommendations for what they would do differently in presenting a similar program, and recognize and reward accomplishments.

The follow-up meeting could be designed to be either just a follow-up for the committee itself - or as the suggestions below indicate - it could be for the program participants several weeks or months after the event. If the follow-up meeting includes participants, use it as an opportunity for people to report on what they have accomplished from their IMBY list of action items. If hazards were corrected as part of a group project or program, for example, 4-H, the follow-up could be held at one of their regularly scheduled meetings.

The follow-up meeting is also a good opportunity for the committee members to relax together and celebrate their accomplishment. Everyone has worked to produce a successful event. Bringing this information to your community is a major success in itself.

Here are some other ideas for the follow-up meeting:
  • A meal could be included, perhaps coordinated through a local commodity organization or other sponsoring group.
  • A guest speaker could summarize changes people have made and provide ideas to other participants.
  • Awards or incentive packages could be provided to those who correct a certain number of hazardous items.
Your Next Event?

The day after the event is over will be a time to think about all the good that was accomplished through the group's efforts. Committee members will probably share with each other as they hear reports from others about the difference the event made in the participant's daily lives.

Conversation may soon turn from the recent past to the future. Putting on one event often gives ideas, inspiration and motivation to do another one. One event leads to another and soon a continuing community safety program is in place.

Businesses and organizations that supported this event will probably be willing to help with others, as long as there is enough time between events - all these groups have other obligations, as well as the work they do.

At the follow-up meeting, ask your committee members when they think the next event should be. Perhaps put on another IMBY workshop for a different group of people, or find some materials to create a special safety workshop for your community. There are plenty of materials and safety specialists available to give additional guidance. Contact the local county Extension office or public health agency for a referral.

All any community needs to be safer and healthier is a few concerned individuals to get the ball rolling.


Additional copies of this publication and other materials for the IMBY Home and Farm Hazard Hunt Workshop are available over the World Wide Web at Florida AgSafe, the Web site of the Florida Agricultural Safety Program, <www.flagsafe.ufl.edu>:
  • Rhythm of the Seasons: Planting Seeds of Safety, Harvesting Grains of Hope - A Lesson Plan for Farm Safety Audiences.
  • Rhythm of the Seasons: Planting Seeds of Safety, Harvesting Grains of Hope - A PowerPoint Presentation to accompany the Lesson Plan

Download PDF version of Key Contact List

Download PDF version of Kick-Off Meeting

Download PDF version of Suggested Agenda for Kick-Off Meeting

Download PDF version of Marketing and Publicizing the Event

Download PDF version of Invitation

Download PDF version of Letter of Invitation for Participants

Download PDF version of Letter of Invitation for Supporters

Download PDF version of Press Release (before event)

Download PDF version of Press Release (after event)

Download PDF version of Participant's Evaluation

Download PDF version of Certificate of Completion

Download PDF version of Follow-up Meeting

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