Now is a good time to review farm emergency response plans
Hardly a county in North Carolina can say it is immune from hurricane damage. From Ivan in the mountains, Hugo in the foothills, Fran in the Sandhills, and Isabel and Floyd in the East, hurricanes have cost lives and livelihoods in every region of the state.
Scientists are predicting another active hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean, which means North Carolina could again find itself in the path of a storm.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging farmers, livestock producers, food manufacturers, pesticide dealers, timber owners and other agribusinesses across the state to prepare now for hurricane season.
Troxler says that taking some precautions and thinking through your emergency plan now and discussing it with employees can help no matter what type of emergency strikes. “Employees should know how to react if you should lose power or are at risk for flooding,” he said. “Being prepared is the key to getting your business back to normal as quickly as possible.”
Farmers and businesses should review insurance policies to ensure they have proper coverage, including wind, hail, flood and catastrophic coverage if necessary. Some coverage takes 30 days to go into effect.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a website, www.ncagr.gov/disaster, with links and resources for different types of agribusinesses to plan and recover from a disaster. A Farm Emergency Plan Template is available on the site to help organize information that is needed after a disaster.
Troxler offers farmers other ways to prepare in advance for a disaster:
• Consider purchasing, leasing or negotiating a rental arrangement for a backup generator in advance. If you plan to rent a generator, read the contract carefully, as some rental contracts are only for eight hours use per day.
• Have a transfer switch properly installed so you can use a generator. This is critical for the protection of farm facilities and utility workers.
• Put together an Emergency Preparedness Kit: fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, a camera that stamps date and time, flashlights, batteries and other items, plus food and water for several days for each family member, employee and pet.
• Purchase a NOAA weather radio and batteries.
• Keep drainage ditches clear of debris so water can run freely.
• Prune or remove trees in danger of damaging power lines.
• Maintain an inventory of the farm or business, including photos of valuable items.