A recent news story about a child at a pumpkin farm caught our attention here at West Bend. The child suffered a medical emergency and passed out. Thankfully, another patron at the farm trained in CPR was able to help the little girl until emergency services arrived. While this story had a very happy ending, it highlights some of the safety issues that should be considered if or when a situation like this occurs.
At this time of year, there are all kinds of fall festivals and activities. Families and schools visit pumpkin farms to experience mazes, petting zoos, and pick out pumpkins to carve. Many times these places operate as working farms in spring and summer and are only open to the public in the fall for these types of activities. As a result, owners may not be aware of some of the emergencies that can arise and what they should do to prepare.
Weather emergencies: While severe weather emergencies are less common in the fall, they can still happen. It’s important to be prepared for a storm and determine where patrons can find shelter and how to direct them to safe areas. Check out this blog about weather safety for more ideas.
Medical emergencies: With large numbers of people visiting a farm, there are bound to be some medical emergencies. An elderly adult could have a heart attack or a child could experience a severe allergic reaction. Having a plan for these types of emergencies is very important. How staff members should respond and who will call for emergency services should all be decided ahead of time. Developing an emergency action plan can help designate everyone’s role in an emergency.
Injuries and Illnesses: Throughout the season, there are bound to be some injuries or illnesses. Does the organization have a plan for tracking injuries? What steps are taken to prevent the slip-and-fall injuries that are very common on farms? Also, if animals are present, illness prevention must be a priority. Having hand sanitizer and hand washing stations is very important.
Preparing for emergencies is a key part of planning for any event. Thinking through different emergency scenarios and responses can ensure staff members are ready to react and also protect the farm from liability.