Severe weather brings a host of potential challenges for farmers and ranchers. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and high volumes of chemicals on hand are just a few hazards that they face.
We’re passionate about emergency preparedness. We help our members deal with accidents, crises and disasters every day. We see firsthand the effects of these incidents on farm owners, their families, employees, customers, bottom lines, and often on their futures.
Over the past 100 years, we’ve learned that most accidents are preventable. When disasters happen, damage can be minimized in many cases. Having a farm emergency plan isn’t just smart, it can directly affect your farm’s profitability and long-term growth.
We recommend you prepare for tornadoes, hurricanes, floods or other natural disasters by having an active, up-to-date emergency action plan. In an emergency, it can provide a clear path through the chaos. It can also save precious time when minutes count.
Basic elements of a farm emergency plan
As farmers and ranchers know all too well: Mother Nature is unpredictable. But being prepared with an emergency action plan is a great investment in helping preserve what you’ve worked so hard to build.
Here are some tips for what to include in your farm or ranch emergency plan:
- Include a map of your farm or ranch with all buildings and contents. Document emergency escape routes and procedures for each building on your property.
- List who will be responsible for what, and how they’ll report fire and other emergencies. Identify procedures to be followed by the people who remain to handle critical operations before they evacuate.
- Document procedures to account for all people and employees after an emergency evacuation. Have contingency plans for where you’ll house livestock if barns or dairy parlors are damaged or destroyed.
- Pre-plan salvage operations and include a method of debris disposal. Be aware of what materials the landfill nearest your farm or ranch will accept and establish alternatives if needed. Follow any specific procedures for disposal of chemicals or other hazardous materials to meet EPA requirements.
- Develop and maintain a list of all people connected with your farm or ranch who should be contacted in an emergency. Be sure to include names and all pertinent contact information. This can include owners, family members, employees, employee family members, suppliers and anyone else who is on your farm or ranch on a regular basis.
- Develop and maintain a list of emergency contacts. Include local law enforcement, fire departments, emergency medical responders, gas and electric providers, hospitals and insurance companies. Keep copies of your emergency contact list in your home, your office, your glove compartment, with all family members, any key employees and in additional buildings. The key is to always have them close at hand.
- Establish an inventory system. Know exactly what’s on your farm or ranch at all times.
- Designate a location for offsite storage of important documents and records.
Talk to a farm insurance agent about preparing an emergency action plan for your farm or ranch.