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.

General preparation

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
  • prepare your home and property
  • prepare your vehicle
  • know about emergency advice and warnings
  • check the Recovery website after an emergency.

Prepare for the specific types of emergencies that may affect you and your farm.

Farm preparation

In addition to your general preparation, there are some things that you'll need to consider for your farm.

Emergency plan

When developing your farm emergency plan think about:

Emergency kit

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
    • shade
  • a flood -  to higher ground
  • a severe storm, including hail - under solid cover (eg a sturdy shed or covered yard).

It is the farmer's responsibility to check where to get help before an emergency, for:

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.


Private dam maintenance and management in emergencies - Department for Environment and Water SA


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).

Farm inventory

Make an inventory by recording:

  • crops - types and hectares
  • machinery and equipment - make and model number
  • hazardous chemicals - eg pesticides, fertilisers, fuel
  • livestock - type and number of animals and records of vaccinations:
    • make sure your animals have permanent identification - eg name tag, microchip or brand
    • ensure cattle, sheep and goats are tagged with a National Livestock Identification device.

Site map

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.

Private dam maintenance and management in emergencies - Department for Environment and Water SA

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.

It is the farmer's responsibility to attend to all animal welfare issues after an emergency however, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, SA (PIRSA) may assist with assessments of emergency affected livestock if normal veterinary services are not available and Livestock SA may accept and distribute donations of livestock fodder after significant emergencies.

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.

Farm assistance

Recovery advice for specific events will be published on this website and the 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 - Australian Government

Looking after injured animals or disposing of deceased animals

Assess and continue to monitor your animals for injuries or signs of illness.

Provide non-contaminated feed and water.

Animal safety in emergencies - PIRSA

Related information

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    Provided by: SAFECOM
    Page last updated 25 October 2021

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