Prepare your farm for an emergency
Protecting your farm in an emergency or disaster involves considering household members, farm workers, buildings, equipment, crops and livestock.
Planning ahead for any situation including fire, extreme weather, chemical accident, and animal and plant disease can help minimise the impact and recovery time.
As part of your preparation you should:
- understand your risks
- develop and maintain your emergency plan with the household and farm workers
- have an emergency kit
- think about your emotional and physical preparation
- think about looking after others
- prepare your home and property
- prepare your vehicle
- think about sheltering in or leaving your home
- learn what to do during an emergency
- learn what to do after an emergency.
Prepare for the specific types of emergencies that may affect you and your farm.
In addition to your general preparation there are some things that you'll need to consider for your farm.
When developing your farm emergency plan think about:
- the size and location of the farm
- the hazards on the farm
- the type of work done on the farm
- people living on the farm
- workers on the farm and SafeWork SA's work, health and safety requirements.
Make sure your emergency kit includes:
- handling equipment for animals – eg halters, nose leads
- water, feed and buckets
- tools and supplies needed for sanitation.
Keep supplies that may be needed to protect the farm, including:
- sandbags and plastic sheeting, in case of flood
- wire and rope to secure objects, in case of extreme storm
- extra fuel for vehicles and tractors
- suitable fire extinguishers in sheds and vehicles
- extra feed and alternative water supplies for livestock
- emergency generators and water pumps.
If you have animals on your farm include them in your plan.
Consider the need to move animals to safer places. In case of:
- a bushfire – to a closely grazed or ploughed paddock, preferably near the home with:
- drinking water
- steel fences
- a flood – to higher ground
- a severe storm, including hail – under solid cover - eg a sturdy shed or covered yard.
Check with your local council or other agencies if they offer emergency help with:
- temporary animal shelters and yards
- relocation of stock
- feed and water supplies.
Farm crops and orchards
You can help keep your crops and orchards free from pests and diseases by knowing how to prepare for and prevent a plant disease outbreak.
Consider farm workers by:
- keeping them informed of the farm's emergency plan
- making sure they know the escape routes on the property
- ensuring that everyone on the farm is contactable by two-way radio or mobile phone. Consider the use of personal locator beacons (PLBs).
Make an inventory by recording:
- livestock – type and number of animals and records of vaccinations:
- make sure your animals have permanent identification - eg name tag, microchip or brand
- crops – types and hectares
- machinery and equipment – make and model number
- hazardous chemicals - eg pesticides, fertilizers, fuel.
A site map could help emergency services when entering your property. You should include:
- buildings and structures
- access roads and lanes
- fences and gates
- location of livestock
- location of water sources
- location of hazardous chemicals used for farming
- electrical, gas and water supply shut-off locations
- safe locations to relocate equipment, feed and hazardous chemicals
- escape routes from the property.
Keep printed copies of the map, as well as creating an electronic version online.
During an emergency
During an incident put your emergency plan in place.
Ensure the safety of your family and farm workers first. If you have time, move your animals to safer places. Never leave animals tied up or restrained.
After an emergency
When it's safe, continue to follow your emergency plan:
- help others, including neighbours
- tune into your local ABC radio station. Conditions may change quickly so regularly check for updates and heed any warnings.
In the days following the disaster:
- use the supplies from your emergency kit
- relocate, if your home isn't safe to live in
- start your recovery and clean-up, including removing any debris that may cause injury to people and animals.
Account for your inventory
Use your inventory to account for and assess livestock, fuels, chemicals, machinery and equipment in preparation for making your insurance claim.
Recovery advice for specific events will be published on this website and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, SA (PIRSA) website emergency management section when an incident occurs. This section on the PIRSA website also has recovery information for:
- land management
- livestock management
- farm fire recovery.
Recovery assistance – Attorney-General's Department
Looking after animals
Assess and continue to monitor your animals for injuries or signs of illness.
Provide non-contaminated feed and water.
Farmsafe – Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety