In addition to your family and business emergency preparedness plans, make a plan to protect your farm—-its’ property, facilities, and animals. Develop a barn safety and evacuation plan that outlines each type of disaster and determines specific scenarios best suited for each situation. It should include a list of resources such as trucks, trailers, pasture and/or feed which might be needed in an evacuation, as well as, a designated person who will unlock gates and doors and make your facility easily accessible to emergency personnel. Put your plan in writing and post it in a clearly visible place on your farm, as well as, in your disaster kit. Everyone who lives, works or boards/agists at your farm should be familiar with the plan. Review and update your disaster plan, supplies, and information regularly.
Compile and maintain a list of critical contacts. Family, friends, neighbors, business associates, insurance agents, doctor, banker, pharmacy, veterinarian, state veterinarian, poison control, local animal shelter, animal care and control, county extension service, local agricultural schools, transportation resources, local volunteers.
Compile and maintain a comprehensive descriptive listing (including an accounting) of your animals, equipment, machinery, and property. Make sure you have proof of ownership for all animals, equipment, machinery, and property. Include the location of animals, records of feeding, vaccinations, and tests. During an emergency, every animal needs durable and visible identification. Prepare these ahead of time using permanent markers to label animal tags with your name, address, phone number, and description of animal.
Prepare a farm disaster kit stock piling your own emergency supplies. Some suggestions are:
Sandbags and plastic sheeting, in case of flood
Wire and rope to secure objects
Lumber and plywood to protect windows
Extra fuel for tractors and vehicles in a safe location
Hand tools to assist in preparation and recovery
Fire extinguishers at all barns and in all vehicles
A safe supply of food and water for your animals
A gas-powered generator in case of power failure
Shovels, rakes, water buckets, flashlights or lanterns, batteries, blankets, and a minimum of 100 feet of hose
Restraining or containing equipment such as halters, leads, herding tape/conduit/sticks, fence panels, and hot wire kit
Portable first-aid kit and a vet-kit
Means of communication like a battery powered radio, a cell phone, and a camera
Current list of animals, equipment, machinery, and property
Current list of critical contacts
Tools and supplies needed for sanitation
Take precautions. Identify alternate water and power sources. Secure or remove anything that could become blowing debris; make a habit of securing trailers, propane tanks, and other large objects. If you use heat lamps or other electrical machinery, make sure the wiring is safe and that any heat source is clear of flammable debris. Perform regular safety checks on all utilities, buildings, and facilities on your farm. Remove old buried trash—a potential source of hazardous materials during flooding that may leech into crops, feed supplies, water sources, and pasture. Move hay, machinery, fuels, pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals out of flood-prone areas. Remove all barbed wire, and consider rerouting permanent fencing so that animals may move to high ground in a flood and to low-lying areas in high-wind events.