As you begin to develop your plan, you’ll need to make lots of contacts in your area. Each team member has a unique role in your operation and serves as a direct contact, depending on the category or type of emergency.
- County Emergency Management Agency – This should be your first stop/call when starting your plan. The director of this agency will have additional resources and help you get started on who might be on your support team in the local area.
- Local Fire Department – You will want to contact the Fire Chief and EMS Coordinator. Be sure to have a person representing fire response and one representing ambulance response. Many times they are the same, but ask anyway.
- Health Department – Should they be involved? Yes, but it depends on your operation and what they feel their role is. Would they assist with water testing in case of a main break? Training for employees on food safety?
- Sheriff and/or Local Police – In the case of a weather emergency, this could be the person that is your direct contact and helps you make evacuation decisions. In other cases, this is who you’ll work with to direct traffic on an overly busy day or deal with an unruly customer.
- Insurance Representative – This is the person that has you covered. They can explain what they want in regards to incident reports, may be able to give discounts for planning, and may have access through the parent company to get training and other resources.
- Attorney – When a bad emergency happens, there tends to be litigation. Know your attorney and be able to contact them to help alleviate the stress when you go it alone. They can provide direction and guidance in planning for emergencies.
If you can get several members of this team around the table at your farm – do it! Help them get familiar with what you do and how you operate. This will make your plan better.
Once the plan is finalized (at least the first draft), you’ll need to communicate that plan to your support team.
- Host a familiarization tour of your farm and agritourism operation.
- You can invite some or all of the team, but most importantly you’ll want to invite the first responders that will be the front line for your farm in the case of an emergency.
- Some farms host a ‘free day’ for the local fire department and other first responders before the main season begins. They can bring their family and enjoy the farm. Plus, different first responders from different shifts have now seen your farm in action.
- Provide a copy of finished product to team members.
- They can have this at their headquarters to review from time to time.
- Larger or additional copies of map should be provided to local fire/EMA/police.
Now that you have your support team assembled, it’s time to start your actual flipbook.