How to Develop Your Farm Emergency Plan

Too often, when first responders arrive on the scene of a farm-related emergency, they don’t have the proper knowledge, training, personnel, or equipment to manage the situation. Davis Hill, manager of Penn State Extension’s Managing Agricultural Emergencies program, urges farm owners to take the following steps to help their local emergency responders develop a “pre-plan”:

  1. Download an aerial map of your farm. Number all of the buildings and structures, such as silos, bins, and tanks.
  2. On a separate sheet, develop a key. For example, on the map mark each building with an “E” where the main electric shutoff for that building is located. On the separate sheet, write down what “E” stands for. Do the same for gas (letter “G”) and pesticides (letter “P”).
  3. On the separate sheet, identify what each building and structure is. For example, building 1 might be the main dairy. Structure 2 might be a 60,000-bushel grain bin.
  4. List names and contact information for the principal owners and managers of the farm, including how they can be reached.
  5. Contact your local fire chief and invite him or her to your farm to prepare to respond to various emergencies, and ask him or her to conduct an emergency pre-plan for your farm.
  6. Show the fire chief what you have developed. A good fire chief will take this information and expand on it.

—Jeff Mulhollem