Farmedic program to help emergency crews respond better to farm accidents

Working in Alberta's agriculture industry can be dangerous. Ag for Life, a non-profit organization, has launched a Farmedic training program so first responders know the best way to respond.

Firefighters need to know about farm structures, chemicals and equipment to respond efficiently in a crisis

Ag for Life launched a pilot project where volunteer firefighters are taught what to expect when responding to farm incidents. 1:52

More than 20 first responders from the Foothills Fire Department took part in a new initiative aimed at helping them deal with challenges when reacting to farm emergencies. 

According to Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR), there was 355 farm fatalities in Alberta between 1990 and 2009. 

Kaley Segboer from Ag for Life says many farms are still family owned.

"When you have a farm injury or incident it's not just a worker that's being impacted, it's dad or mom or a brother or sister that's injured, and they are no longer able to participate in family activities.... It affects the extended family and multiple generations," she said.

The not-for-profit organization rolled out their Farmedics program in De Winton south of Calgary Thursday.

The course is designed to acquaint first responders with structures, chemicals and equipment found on farms, to help them react more efficiently in situations when every second counts.

"We train a lot on motor-vehicle accidents and how to put out fires, but we don't train an bunch on farm accidents. Farm equipment is bigger, tougher," said fire instructor Lynn Roberts.

The program ran for two days and taught volunteer firefighters how to deal with entrapments and entanglements through classroom work, farm tours and demonstrations.


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