Making sure everyone supports and understands the plan is critical, says Jock McIntosh
The family dinner table is a place where some of the most critical farm management discussion takes place.
And likely no topic is more important for farm families to discuss than safety and emergency planning, says Jock McIntosh of Alberta Environment.
"A key to good planning is these areas is having open discussion among family members, to make sure there is awareness and everyone is on the same page," says McIntosh. For Alberta farm families, one particular component he encourages including in this discussion is the Rural Emergency Plan – a simple, do-it-yourself emergency plan for protecting rural Alberta families and their environment. Information and resources to develop this plan the Rural Emergency Plan are available through the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan website, www.albertaefp.com or directly at www.ruralemergencyplan.com.
"I would encourage families to sit around the dinner table after supper and really look at the Rural Emergency Plan and think it through," says McIntosh. "It's a good tool. It can direct your discussion so that you can do a good job of planning ahead and making sure you are prepared."
When an emergency situation occurs, such as a fire or hazardous material spill, one of the keys to preventing an emergency turning into a personal or environmental safety disaster is response time, he says. Speed, clear thinking and planning are critical.
"The tool has a lot of value. And the family communication to support it and make sure there is awareness is equally valuable. As a farm family, you need to have the plan straight in everyone's minds, so there is no hesitation on what to do if something happened."
The Rural Emergency Plan, created by farmers and those on the front lines of emergency response, has been designed with this in mind. It is a personalized, easy-to-use tool for rural landowners to prepare for personal and environmental safety emergencies on their farms, ranches or acreages. It's also a way to let emergency responders know critically important information about rural properties so they can respond to emergencies quickly, effectively and safely.
"Completing a Rural Emergency Plan is one of the best things a rural family can do, to be prepared and have peace of mind if an emergency situation were to occur," says McIntosh. "Make sure to do practice drill from time to time to keep this fresh in everyone's minds."
More information on Environmental Farm Plans and Rural Emergency Plans in Alberta is available at www.albertaefp.com.