Summer is the time to devise an emergency plan for all sorts of calamities. Farmers across Australia must consider the type of disaster that may befall their farms. Furthermore, devising a plan falls in the preparedness stage that is crucial to minimise life, livestock, and property losses and may lead to a quick recovery. Learn with us things to consider when devising a summer emergency plan for your flourishing farm.
When I think of Aussie summer, I picture myself dancing with dolphins, singing with horses, and playing cricket in the backyard. Okay a little off track for farm business management!
This serene picture looks more and more luxurious now when climate change is wreaking havoc and summer natural disasters have intensified as a result. Lately, the thought of Aussie summer brings to mind wild bushfires, tropical cyclones, dust storms, floods, droughts, and worse, heatwaves!
Be that as it may, it is of crucial importance for farmers across Australia to ready their farms for every kind of emergency during natural disasters.
Devising a summer emergency plan to cope with natural disasters includes prioritising the safety of household members, farmworkers, infrastructure, equipment, crops, and livestock. Devising an emergency preparedness plan also helps in facing situations like chemical incidents, animal and plant disease outbreaks, and any such calamity.
Today, we will talk about how to tackle an emergency in the summer, things to consider while devising a plan, and preparedness steps necessary to minimise the impact of disaster and early recovery. We will discuss a plan of action before, during, and after an emergency.
Types of emergencies farmers may encounter in Australia are Animal and plant disease outbreaks, Animals in emergencies, Bushfires, Chemical disasters, COVID-19 outbreaks, earthquakes, Electricity, gas, phone and water outages, Floods and flash floods, heatwaves, House fire, Human diseases, Cyclones and sandstorms.
1. Preparedness Stage: Things to consider before disaster hits your farm
The first step is to be ready before any calamity strikes. Preparedness is about taking measures to lessen the damaging effects of the disaster. It is a crucial step that can save lives and property loss during a disaster.
Your preparedness plan should account for these general tips:
- Understand the nature of the disaster and come up with expected risks
- Include in your emergency the household members and farmworkers and communicate your emergency plan to them. Ensure that everyone knows the escape routes on the property and can be contacted in two ways; radio and phone
- Make farm inventory by recording crop types and hectares, equipment, machinery, herbicides, fertilisers, livestock type and number, and vaccination records. Ensure livestock have identification tags.
- Prepare an emergency kit and ensure its quick access to everyone
- Take into consideration your emotional and physical state
- Prepare your home, property, and farm accordingly
- Ready your vehicle or other transport for quick evacuation if needed
- Keep in touch with sources that provide emergency advice and warnings
- There are online resources to check during and after an emergency for the recovery stage.
- Depending upon your geographical location, prepare for the expected disaster and devise your emergency plans accordingly. For instance, if you are at a greater risk of bushfires, make an emergency plan specific to it.
- When developing your farm emergency plan consider the size, location, workforce, and hazards on the farm.
What your farm’s emergency kit should include?
Your emergency kit is the first thing you reach during an emergency. It should include the following;
- Equipment to handle animals like halters and nose leads
- Feedstock reserves and water for drinking
- Tools and equipment for maintaining sanitation
- Ready sandbags, flood wraps, plastic sheets, etc. in case of flood
- Flashlights and whistles
- Extra batteries and a battery-powered radio
- Ready the ropes and wires in case of storms and cyclones
- Reserve fuel for vehicles
- Fire extinguisher equipment
- Emergency energy sources like generators and water pumps
Keeping a site map of your property can help greatly in emergencies. Ensure your site map includes the location of buildings, roads, fences and gates, livestock, water sources, chemical storages, safe locations to relocate to, escape routes. Also, keep site map prints where farm management can access them.
How to include livestock in the plan?
Caring for your farm animals is of crucial importance. Ensure your animals are part of your plan. Depending upon the type of disaster, consider relocating or sheltering animals to a safe place. In case of bushfire, relocate animals to a ploughed, fenced, and shaded paddock with easy access to drinking water.
In case of flood, relocate animals to preferably higher ground and ensure fencing and shade. Make preparations for a timely supply of feed and drinking water.
In case of extreme weather conditions like cyclones or hailstorms, move animals from open spaces to under solid cover.
It is the farmer’s responsibility to ensure animal safety and get help before an emergency. Find out the location of temporary animal shelters, feed, and water supplies.
2. Response Stage: Things to do during an emergency
Starting off, put your emergency plan into action. Things unfold quickly during an emergency and accounting for unforeseen circumstances can take a toll on your emotional, mental and physical health.
The response stage is about ensuring that your emergency plan is effectively working. Ensure the safety o family member, farmworkers as a top priority. Then move the animals to a safe place. Do not leave your livestock restrained, sealed off, or tied up.
Stay in touch with your local authorities to receive warnings, safety alerts, and updates.
3. Recovery Stage: Things to do in post-emergency time
It's time to return and rebuild. Help others and Include your neighbours in your emergency plan. However, there is a greater uncertainty right after a calamity falls, it is recommended to regularly check for updates and heed to warnings.
In the recovery stage, you can rely on your emergency kit for feed and water supplies among other things. Start your recovery, clean up debris, and restore paddocks.
Seek help from local authorities to ensure animal welfare. Also, obtain recovery information on land management and livestock management from local government authorities. In case you find an animal without an identification tag, inform your local authorities. Likewise, if your animals are missing, consult local authorities.
Estimate losses from your farm inventory. There may be livestock loss, fuels and chemical loss, and machinery and equipment loss. See how much the insurance program would cover.
Look out for injured animals and dispose of carcasses. Run a thorough check-up for any signs of illness or injuries in animals. Ensure safe and healthy feed and quality drinking water. Make sure animals do not drink stagnant water which may be contaminated. Also, closely monitor animals for signs of distress which may result in decreased food intake.
There are resilience programs in place in every state. Be sure to make the most out of them in emergencies. Having a well thought, detailed business plan for emergencies can save you and your farm. Devise a summer emergency plan for your farm today and follow the guidelines. This brings us to the end of this article.
Until we meet again, Happy Farming!
- The Dedicated Team of Pasture.io, 05 January 2022