Over the last few weeks, you have learned there are two resources that will help your farm become more sustainable, the Farm Safety Plan and the Farm Sustainability Assessment. One of the essential components of health and safety in the Farm Sustainability Assessment is Emergency Preparedness, in particular Emergency and Incident Procedures.
Do you have procedures in place for responding to an emergency and reporting an incident? Do you have the correct emergency response equipment available? The last two postings of the sustainability series included information on fire extinguishers and first aid kits. If you refer to Section 5 of the Farm Safety Plan, templates have been prepared as part of the Workbook to help you start to develop your own emergency response plan.
To carry this forward, do you have an Emergency Response Plan for each potential emergency that could happen on the farm? What types of emergencies could happen on your farm?
Consider emergencies such as medical, fire, spills, natural disasters, engulfment, crush injuries, amputations, vehicle and/or equipment collisions. Develop a procedure on how to respond to each potential emergency that could happen on your farm. You may need to consult local emergency services for help with this, especially for engulfment.
Do local emergency facilities have the equipment and skills to help in the particular emergencies that could happen on your farm? You may want to include the emergency equipment needed as well the location of the equipment in the emergency response plan.
Once you have developed a plan, it is a very good idea to test each plan to be sure all any bugs in the plan have been worked out. Time is of the essence in these situations. Also, Section 5:3 of the Farm Safety Plan workbook includes a template to develop an Emergency Contact Information list and a Remote Location Plan, if this applies to your farm.
If there is an emergency, the incident should be documented and section 5:1 of the workbook includes a template for an Incident and Investigation policy as well as a template for an incident report form.
Being prepared is a method of identifying hazards as you can foresee what could happen. If you are able to foresee what could happen on your farm, then you may be able to prevent it which will reduce losses on your farm thus in turn creating a more sustainable farm.