Emergency Preparedness

Small Farm and Gardening Safety and Health Series
Agriculture and Natural Resources
S. Dee Jepsen, Associate Professor and State Safety Leader, Agricultural Safety and Health, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Jeffery Suchy, Graduate Student and Lecturer, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Farmers and gardeners participate in numerous activities that have the potential to lead to injury. Exposure to chemicals, machinery, environmental conditions and other farm-related activities—without proper training and knowledge—can lead to increased danger and injury. Hospitals or emergency care may be limited or unavailable due to inaccessible locations or distances. Emergency numbers such as 911 should not be relied upon as the primary emergency preparation plan. Follow these planning guidelines to help reduce risk, prepare for unexpected events and minimize the impact of such events.

Reducing the Risk of Emergency Events

• Take classes to learn first aid and CPR, and keep a well-stocked first aid kit readily available at all times.
• Read operator’s manuals and learn how to properly operate all equipment before using it for the first time.
• Understand the tasks to be performed and the safest way to complete them.
• Keep track of all potentially hazardous materials and make sure safety data sheets (SDSs) are available in the event of exposure to such materials.
• Recognize when personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed, and make sure it is available and maintained.

Preparing for Emergency Events

• Develop an emergency plan to implement during and after situations and events. Keep others informed of the emergency plan and review it regularly.
• Identify likely on-site hazards:
◦ Chemicals, equipment, livestock, etc.
• Establish an emergency contact list and a notification order:
◦ Local EMS, county Extension service, insurance company, veterinarian, etc.
• Create a workplace site map, if the location is consistent.
◦ Show buildings, roads, barriers, chemical storage areas, utility disconnects, etc.

Minimizing the Impact of Emergency Events

Stay Calm
• Overreaction can complicate the situation and lead to further confusion and injury.
• If possible, reassure the victim by keeping one rescuer nearby at all times.
Designate a Leader
• Someone experienced in first aid or who has first-aid training should assume leadership. This person should direct rescue efforts until the emergency squad arrives. He/she should communicate with the squad in order to update them on the current situation and the treatments that have been administered.
Assign a Specific Person to Call for Help
• The dispatcher will need to know the location and condition of the rescue site. Notify the dispatcher if the field is muddy, steep, rocky or has otherwise adverse working conditions. Indicate the type of equipment involved in the emergency incident, the number of victims and the extent of their injuries.
• Stay on the phone until help arrives or until dismissed by the dispatcher.
Provide Emergency First Aid
• Restore breathing and circulation if necessary. Apply pressure to lacerations and open wounds. Administer any additional first-aid treatment.


• “Plan and Prepare.” American Red Cross. 2014. redcross.org/prepare.
• All Hazards: Resources to help rural communities prepare for disasters and other hazards. Iowa State University: The Center for Food Security & Public Health. 2010. prep4agthreats.org/All-Hazard-Preparedness/index.php.

Reviewer: Kent McGuire, CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Ohioline http://ohioline.osu.edu