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Could You Handle an Agricultural Emergency?

If you found someone caught in a farm machine, would you know what to do? Could you stop the engine? Do you know how to get help?

People living or working on a farm should be able to do most of the possible life-saving tasks listed here. It is also a good idea for those who regularly travel country roads and visit farmers to know these basics – including people in ag sales, insurance, etc.

Obviously, if two people find someone in distress, one could go for help while the other assists the victim. But a person alone, depending on the situation, probably needs to alleviate the victim’s plight before seeking help. (Of course, with cell phones, this is perhaps not the problem that it once was.)

Being trained in first aid techniques is a plus, especially if the victim is bleeding or stops breathing. Unless there is an immediate threat, such as fire, no layman should try to move the seriously injured person or attempt more than a simple extrication. Let experienced rescuers and medical people take care of those things.

Emergency Preparedness items one should know:

• Where and how to turn off the ignition on gasoline-powered equipment
• How to operate the fuel shut-off on diesel-powered equipment
• How to disengage the power-take-off (PTO)
• How to drive equipment forward and in reverse
• How to turn on the lights
• Where the fire extinguishers are and how to use them
• Where the electric power lines are in relation to movement of equipment
• How to turn off or disconnect electric power
• Where and how to turn off stationary farmstead equipment such as automatic grain equipment, grain dryer, silo unloader, conveyors, etc.
• How to turn off a portable auger or elevator
• How to operate hydraulic control levers
• How to raise and lower a tractor loader and bucket
• How to raise a combine head
• How to use safety bars on self-unloading wagons
• How to turn on the fans to get air moving in manure pits and confinement housing
• The location of the water container or tank in case of an anhydrous ammonia incident
• How to contact emergency or rescue personnel and knowing location identifier or address
• How to get emergency vehicles into various areas of the farm – especially if livestock are involved and they must get into a pasture area
• The location of the best source of water for fire fighting

Be prepared to respond to an agricultural emergency before it happens. Take a first aid and CPR course. Make sure there are well stocked first aid kits in tractors, trucks, and buildings. It is also a good idea to have fully charged fire extinguishers on tractors, vehicles and in buildings.

Source: Safety News and Notes, UF/IFAS, Vol. 11, No. 1, January 2010

 

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