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July 17, 1967

Control of Accidents in Rural Areas

Author Affiliations

From the Bureau of Occupational Health, California Department of Public Health, Berkeley. Dr. Waller is now with the Bureau of Chronic Diseases.

JAMA. 1967;201(3):176-180. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130030046011

The original version of "Springfield Mountain,"1 an old New England folk ballad, tells how a young man was bitten by a rattlesnake while plowing his fields, and how he died because first aid was not available. The final verse states,

In the month of August, the twenty-first,

When this sad accident was done,

May this be a warning to you all

To be prepared when God shall call.

Although this song goes back to the year 1761, it has relevance to present rural America. The rural environment still is, in many ways, an overly hazardous environment. However, the occurrence of an "accident" need not inexorably lead to death as in the ballad. Man can intervene in many simple as well as sophisticated ways to prevent an "accident" from becoming an injury, and an injury from becoming a fatality.

Finally, although much excellent research is being done to arrive at