Preventing and properly responding to a spill or discharge on a farm is everyone’s concern. Communication between the farm owner, supervisors, and employees generates ideas and awareness that leads to accident prevention and quick response if a spill does occur. An Emergency Action Plan is a basic, yet thorough, common sense plan that will help you make the right decision during an emergency.
Developing a good plan is the first step towards implementing a sound environmental policy. In reality a plan cannot be implemented if employees are not aware of the plans contents. All too often a good plan remains on the shelf, and is never implemented due to a lack of training and direction.
Components of a thorough plan include: 1) Farm site map identifying all chemical storage areas, fuel storage areas, livestock-related buildings, manure handling and storage facilities, environmentally sensitive areas such as wells, and the location of equipment that may be used to respond to an emergency. 2) Emergency contact numbers. Owner contact numbers- where the owner can be contacted in the case of an emergency both day and night. 3) Back up contact numbers- the person that can be contacted in the case of an emergency if the owner can’t be reached. 3) All appropriate emergency contacts, including the farm owner’s doctor and veterinarian; this list may also include a local excavator in case of a spill.
All Farm owners should develop emergency plans to help ensure the safety of the responders, minimize property damage, protect family members and employees and protect the environment. Farm Owners should develop an emergency plan for each separate operation or separate site, reviewing and updating annually or whenever significant changes occur on the farm. This bulletin contains information on preparing your emergency farm plan. It also contains a template (pages 4-14) for you to complete your own emergency plan.
As the farm owner, you should assess possible events, caused by humans or caused by nature, that may strike your operation, and consider the potential impacts. This assessment will help identify and prioritize the types of events that you want to be prepared to address and will lay the foundation for emergency response planning.
Discuss the emergency plan with family members and employees, and post it in a central and secure location on the farm for reference in an emergency. Invite your local fire department representative or other emergency service providers to your farm to review your plan and show them details listed in the plan. Invite them to make suggestions on how to improve your plan.