As a farmer, you know all too well nature is unpredictable. Having an emergency plan will help preserve what you’ve worked so hard to build.

Here are some tips for what to include in your farm emergency plan:

  • 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.

We can replace your property, but we can’t replace you or your family.

 Wood burners are great for ambiance and pocketbooks. There is also greater risk of home fire.

Use these handy reminders to stay on top of maintenance and safety items:

  • Frequently check the unit and chimney flues.
  • Inspect the chimney from the roof, using a flashlight to look for obstructions or damage.
  • Check stovepipes for creosote build-up; have the chimney and stove professionally cleaned as needed.
  • Burn only seasoned wood, preferably at least 2 years old.
  • Keep children away from the stove to prevent burns or risk of clothing ignition.
  • Keep combustible materials away to avoid risk of ignition.
  • Maintain a multi-purpose fire extinguisher near the stove; check the date on the extinguisher and keep it up to date.
  • Check and maintain smoke detectors.

Lightning destroys! Protect your loved ones, home, and electronics.

Lightning storms are responsible for more destruction, injuries, and death each year than all the hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods combined.

Think surge protection

  • Ask your utility company if surge suppression is installed at the electric meter – often standard today; if not, install a surge breaker on your main panel board.
  • Lightning losses are a covered peril (after the deductible) in most property insurance policies, but replacing electronics won’t restore lost personal documents, pictures, music, etc. Fortunately, electronic devices often have built in surge suppression today; to be safe, unplug the devices during storm activity.
  • Avoid appliances, phones, and water during lightning storms. Currents traveling through a structure can hit a person using anything electric or corded, and any running water including showers, bathtubs, and pools.
  • When outdoors during lightning storms, put aside personal electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods, and laptop computers. These can cause serious injury.
  • Encourage your electric company to keep trees trimmed around power lines.
  • Professionally designed and installed lightning rods provide some protection.

Use the 30-30 Rule!

30 Seconds flash to bang: time to take shelter!

(When you see the flash, count the seconds to the bang. Every 5 seconds equals 1 mile. Divide by 5 to determine the distance in miles from you to the lightning.)

30 Minutes after the last thunder is heard: safe to resume activities.