So you finally did it—you’ve purchased your own land and have become a farmer. It may be idyllic and straight out of Little House on the Prairie, but it can also come with a lot of significant dangers and physical hazards. Here are some examples:
- As the world gets warmer and warmer, farms are more vulnerable to fires, especially during seasons of drought. Add heatwaves into the mix, and you can be sure that the farm will always experience some level of risk for wildfires. Moreover, many materials on the farm are highly combustible—materials like straw, hay, bedding materials, paints, pesticides, cobwebs, grain dust, horse blankets, fertilizers, and others.
- Because farms don’t often have gates or clear demarcation lines, you never know when a stranger can appear on your property. There is always a significant risk for trespassing or other home invasion crimes.
- It comes with significant health risks. Farmers and farm workers are often exposed to environmental hazards and toxins. This can cause respiratory diseases, skin illnesses, noise-induced hearing losses, certain types of cancers, heat-related conditions, and exposure to chemical toxicity.
- Farmers are always operating heavy machinery, and while these big pieces of equipment are often safe, we never know when they can suddenly malfunction and cause accidents.
- Farmers are more exposed to wild animals, which means they are always at risk for more diseases or being attacked by them.
Farm living may be idyllic and a dream come true for many, but it can also come with many safety hazards. Here are some precautions and measures you can take to protect you and your family from physical harm or danger while living on a farm.
Lower your risk for fires
Because we never know when a wildfire might take place, whether through natural means or otherwise, you need to place plenty of reliable safeguards to ensure that you have a fighting chance should a fire break out in the area. Aside from your smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, here are some examples of investments you need to make:
- Make sure you and your family members have fire-protective clothes and other personal protective equipment, especially if you’re doing some fire-related tasks, like slash-and-burn agriculture.
- Properly secure highly flammable materials and accelerants like oil, gasoline, paint thinner, aerosol cans, etc. Invest in approved containers and label them properly, and the list should be hidden in the office, not in the building where these accelerants are stored.
- Make sure ignition sources like motors, heaters, electrical fixtures, broken glass, cigarettes, matches, and others are appropriately disposed of, turned off, and extinguished before you leave the area.
- Mind the roadways and access to your farm as well. Make sure the driveways are wide and bump-free, that the shrubs and trees are properly trimmed at all times. Ensure that the gates are big enough to allow for trucks and heavy machinery to enter the premises without incident and that you have emergency lanes around all the structures and buildings. You also need to find ways to ensure that nothing will block the entry to your property should emergency vehicles and firetrucks need to enter the premises.
- Check the construction of your structures, especially your barns where your horses and livestock are being taken care of. Make sure that these constructions abide by the town’s building codes. One thing you need to know about this process is that insurance companies in the U.S. tend to lower premiums if you incorporate more fire-safety precautions when you construct your building, so don’t hesitate to add more safeguards in place.
- Consider installing a heavy-duty gate and fence to your main house to protect against intruders and wild animals. Add some security cameras as well, especially if your kids tend to wander around the property.
- Train everyone working on the farm to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) every time they have to do tasks that require them to handle chemicals.
- Get the proper training for operating heavy machinery. Don’t just assume you and your people are natural at operating a tractor; it’s significantly different from driving a regular car. Even if the U.S. does not require licenses for driving many of these pieces of machinery, you owe it to yourself, your family, and workers to ensure that everyone is adequately trained before they operate them.
With the proper safety measures in place, there’s no reason you and your family can’t live a long and happy life on your dream farm. You only have to remember to prepare for it.