Clinton County Farm Emergency Plan Program
The Clinton County Extension Service, in cooperation with Clinton County Central Dispatch and Emergency Responders has developed a Farm Emergency Planning program which will provide Emergency Responders with enhanced information about a farm operation to enhance their ability to respond.
Curt Emanuel, Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resources will work with farmers to develop their plan. Portions of this plan will be digitized, including a GIS-based Farmstead Map. Plan information will then be given to Central Dispatch to be loaded on their computer system and distributed to emergency responders. When responding to a farm emergency, responders will then have detailed information about the locations and types of hazards, resources, building contents, etc., which will help them to more effectively, safely, respond.
What are the benefits of developing this type of plan?
- Safety of the farmer, his or her family and employees. First and foremost is that the producer will have developed a detailed emergency plan for his or her own use. While most farmers have given at least some thought to safety, in many cases significant aspects such as location and maintenance of fire extinguishers, spill kits, spill response plans, location of MSDS sheets, compiling emergency contact information, etc., has not been done. This plan will help the producer assess his or her risks and develop strategies to mitigate farm hazards.
- Enhanced emergency response. By providing information to Central Dispatch and Emergency Responders you will help ensure that the quickest, safest, most effective response occurs if there is ever an emergency on your farm. As responders are on the road approaching your farm they will be able to know where electric and gas shutoffs are located, what hazards such as pesticides and fuels are stored on the farm and where resources such as farm ponds, water sources and materials such as dirt are located. On reaching the site they will know whether to concentrate, for example, fire containment to the building where a combine and tractors are stored rather than to the building with hay, straw or old equipment.
- Safety of emergency responders. The first rule of emergency response is not to endanger the responders as they won't be able to help anyone if they get in trouble or are injured. By locating possible hazards in advance, responders will be able to much more safely navigate these hazards. Many of Clinton County's fire departments are volunteer. Even for those which are not, these are our friends and neighbors. Their safety is of utmost importance.
- Financial benefits. In addition to the benefits achieved by improving emergency response which will usually include a financial benefit, farmers may be eligible for insurance premium reductions on farm policies. These will be assessed on a case by case basis and eligibility will be dependent on many factors. For example, I have a farmowner policy but it's on 10 acres. If I put together a plan nobody's going to give me a policy reduction because responders will know where my Farmall H or riding mower are located. However for large commercial producers whose operations represent a significant dollar value and where this type of plan may provide significant hazard mitigation, insurance carriers may look favorably on developing this plan. If you have questions about this you should contact your insurance carrier. I believe I have spoken with all of the Clinton County Companies that carry farm policies so they will understand the general concept. If your insurance is from out of county I will be happy to speak with them if you provide me with their contact information.
How do I get started on this program?
Contact the Clinton County Extension Office at 765-659-6380 or 765-296-3511 and ask to speak with Curt. Or you may e-mail me at email@example.com. After we've discussed this I'll send you the forms you'll need to complete to get started on developing the plan. This will take some time and once you've returned the information we'll need to sit down and develop the digital map.
Who will have access to this information?
The only people who will have access to this information will be myself, Clinton County Central Dispatch, Emergency Responders, and you. There are many reasons why this information should not be available publicly which I won't list here however this will be confidential. Your insurance carrier may ask for a copy of the information in order for you to be eligible for premium reductions. Whether you choose to give this information to them is up to you. I expect that most of them won't want an additional ten pages of paper in their files. I am planning a developing a one page form I'll sign stating that you have completed a farm emergency plan which you can turn in to your carrier.
What about updates?
The only thing more dangerous to an emergency responder than not having a farm emergency plan would be having one with the wrong information. If they come to your farm and have no idea that you've, say, added bulk anhydrous ammonia storage to your farm operation (if this is large enough size it would be reported under Hazmat regulations anyway), or that you've moved your fuel storage or added a new LP tank for grain drying purposes, this could be very dangerous. It is expected that any time you make major changes to your farm operation that you will contact me so I can update your plan. Each year, approximately 11 months after you've developed your plan (or 11 months after your last update/contact) I will be contacting you to ask if you have any updates to report or if the current plan is still in effect and will ask that you sign a form confirming this. If you have not contacted me within a year, we will remove your farm plan from the Central Dispatch system and, if I have sent a form to your insurance company I will contact them notifying them of this.
How much does this cost?
There is no cost, other than your time, for developing the plan itself. You may of course discover areas of your farm operation which you will want to address which may cost some money.
I have developed a sample or "dummy plan" for demonstration purposes. Obviously, this plan is much simpler than what will be developed for an actual farm however the framework will be similar. I have attached a link below to a PDF verson of the plan. I also have a version in Word if you would prefer this. I will be changing some of the map icons - for example having a tractor instead of a dump truck to represent equipment.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Remember that this will take an investment of some time on both of our parts - this won't be put together in a couple of hours. And I'm sure that, as with any new program, there will be some tweaks made to it along the way.
In addition to the sample plan I've included links to some farm emergency resources which I've used in developing this and that you may find helpful. Even if you aren't interested in having a plan loaded onto the Clinton County Emergency Response system, I encourage you to develop a plan. This is another aspect of risk management, like insurance. And like insurance, you hope you'll never need it but if you do, you'll be very happy to have it.
Michigan State University's "Emergency Planning for the Farm"
Purdue Pesticide Programs "Rural Security Planning" - WARNING! This is a large file (2.6 MB).
Sample Farm Emergency Plan - This file is also fairly large (1.5 MB)