Tornadoes, storms and floods, combined with high volumes of chemicals and equipment on hand, are just a few of the hazards that farm businesses face during storm season.
We see firsthand the effects severe weather and other disasters can create for farm owners, their families, employees, customers, bottom lines, and often on their futures.
Having a farm emergency plan isn’t just smart, it can directly affect your farm’s profitability and long-term growth.
In an emergency, an active, up-to-date emergency plan can provide a clear path through the chaos and save precious time when minutes count.
Basic elements of a farm emergency plan
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:
- 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.