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Farms need emergency plans before disasters strike

(Wisconsin) Farmers should have emergency plans before a tornado, fire, or other disaster hits their farm, according to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. The Farm Bureau posts a farm emergency plan template on its web site,, for farmers to make their own list of emergency contacts, family members and employees, a plan to meet away from the farm in an emergency, and a diagram of their farm.

“When an emergency responder pulls into a farm’s driveway, they may not always be prepared for what they are going to find,” said Casey Langan, Director of Public Relations for the Farm Bureau. “They might not know how grain bins operate, how livestock react under stress, how anhydrous ammonia tanks work and the danger involved with handling the product. Therefore a farm emergency plan should include a description and location of production facilities, livestock and equipment to help minimize the devastating effects of a farm disaster.”

The Farm Bureau said current operational procedures exist for local police, fire and emergency response teams, but many of them may have little knowledge of the workings of a farm. An emergency plan should provide the additional safety information that emergency responders will need.

Farms may have equipment, building structures, livestock bio-security measures, farm chemicals and fuels, power usage and generation, and other aspects of raising livestock and growing crops that require special attention by emergency officials or other important partners who respond to the special needs of farms.

The Farm Bureau is recommending that farm families review and update this emergency list with their family and employees, and to have copies posted near telephones and shared with neighbors and emergency responders.

Items to include in a farm emergency plan:
  • List of family members, employees or neighbors, who are familiar with your farm business.
  • List of emergency contacts.
  • Description of medical history or medical information of family members and employees.
  • Description of location of the farm and directions from nearest major intersection.
  • A general diagram of the farm that includes the location of chemical, fuels, livestock, equipment, overhead and buried utilities, etc.
  • Location of spare keys for vehicles or buildings.
  • Contact information of businesses providing services such as veterinarian, heavy equipment, electricity, livestock and milk hauling, insurance, financial, etc.
  • List of suppliers of chemicals, fertilizer, medications, etc.
  • Contact information of medical care provider.
  • Telephone grid of farmers to help provide livestock care, emergency feed and water, power, etc.
  • Safe storage of farm and personal financial information and computer records in fire-proof boxes or off-site safe deposit boxes.
  • Off-site meeting location and contacts for family and employees to gather following a disaster to assess the situation and coordinate response.
The template of an emergency plan can be found under the “Ag Resources” section of

Source: Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (USA)

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