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Five Steps to Creating an Emergency Action Plan for Your Farm--Revisited

University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News
February 3, 2016        
Source:  Emily Wilmes, Extension Educator-Livestock
University of Minnesota Extension
Stearns, Benton & Morrison Counties

Five Steps to Creating an Emergency Action Plan for Your Farm--Revisited
By Emily Wilmes, University of Minnesota Extension

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (02/03/16) — About a month ago, I shared with all of you 5 tips to create an Emergency Action Plan for your farm.  It is such a great idea to have a plan like this in place in case of a fire, tornado, or other emergency situation.  Using those five tips to guide the creation of your action plan will make the task easy and could make a big difference if disaster ever does strike.  However, I would like to add something to the advice I offered earlier this month. 

I want to thank the man from the St. Stephen area who called me and asked me to include this 6th piece of advice.  The man who called is a volunteer firefighter who had read my article in the Morrison County Record.  He recommended that I add a step to the process, and a very important step at that.  He said farms should share their plans with local fire departments, and I would even extend that to Sheriff’s Departments as well.  He told me that on the fire department, they have run into issues with farms with multiple driveways or even multiple sites that can hinder their response time.  Sharing the plan, or at the very least a farm map, with the fire department will help get to the right place in case of an emergency.  Now, here’s a quick recap of the steps to creating an emergency action plan for your farm, with our new addition:

-Figure out what emergency situations to plan for.  In Minnesota, you should consider planning for tornadoes, floods, severe snowstorms, and fires.

-Create a map of your farm.  Include buildings, access routes, and locations of all livestock and any hazardous materials.

-Make lists.  List the full inventory of your farm including all livestock, crops, and equipment.  Also create a list of emergency contact numbers including your vet, insurance agent, and county emergency management. 

-Check on your current status.  Know what your emergency supplies are, and what you may still need.  Also, call your insurance agent to confirm what your coverage is.

-Create action plans for two scenarios: sheltering in place and evacuation.  For sheltering in place, consider your options for backup water and power.  For evacuations, think about what escape routes make the most sense.

-Make sure everyone on your farm is aware of the emergency action plan and what their tasks are if it would be put into place. 

-Contact your local fire and sheriff’s department and share your plan with them.

I hope you and your farm are always safe from disaster, but if bad weather or fire does strike, it’s important to be prepared.  Having a plan can make the difference between losing it all or saving everything. 

If you ever have any additions or corrections to any of the content I share, I would love to hear from you!  You can call me at the Stearns County Extension Office at 320-255-6169, ext.3.


Emily Wilmes
Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems - Livestock
(320) 255-6169