Emergency action tubes can save lives nationwide

amy rademaker carle rural health and farm safetyFor the first responders to an agricultural emergency, such as a tractor overturn or a grain bin entrapment, minutes can make the difference between life and death.

The Center for Rural Health and Farm Safety at Carle Foundation Hospital developed Emergency Action Tube Toolkits to help save lives, property and precious time in a rural emergency situation. This is just a portion of the life-changing and life-saving efforts the Carle center champions annually, reaching more than 4,000 people in the region last year through events, classes and one-to-one connections.

For the last four decades, and despite larger farming operations, Illinois has held steady at about 21 farm-related fatalities per year.

“Farming is the most dangerous occupation in our country,” said Amy Rademaker, Carle Center for Rural Health and Farm Safety specialist.

“We are continually looking for ways to make farming safer for this essential way of life.”

The Emergency Action Tube Toolkit provides rural organizations, such as county Farm Bureau chapters, FFA chapters, fire districts and 4-H chapters, with detailed instructions and materials to implement Emergency Action Tubes in their communities. The goal is to support organizations in rural communities across the country in creating and using Emergency Action Tubes to help ensure the safety of their regional farmers.

emergency action tube at corn and soybean farmEmergency Action Tubes are sealed plastic cylinders containing detailed maps of the farm with information identifying the location of buildings, grain bins, fuel, livestock, fences and chemical storage, electrical panels, water supply and septic systems. These weather-resistant maps are prominently attached on a property’s main electrical pole, and provide first responders with essential information that allows them to make faster, more accurate decisions during an emergency.

The benefits of Emergency Action Tubes for emergency services include:

  • Quick identification of potential hazards
  • Rapidly isolate or shut off electrical, water, or fuel sources
  • Contact and notify residents who are not present
  • Quickly locate specific areas of the farm

“These maps could prevent a lot of damage and possibly loss of life if no one was available to communicate with emergency responders,” said Joe Burke, Thomasboro farmer.

“It did not cost me anything except 30 minutes of my time; a small investment for potentially priceless returns.”

Eligible farmers do not pay for the tubes to be created or installed. The service requires very little of the farmer’s time to ensure an accurate result, yet the production and mapping process takes amount of diligence, which is why the toolkit is important.

Rademaker partners rural organizations and emergency services on the mapping process and produces final product. The Emergency Action Tube Toolkit gives communities outside this region the opportunity to bring a heightened level of emergency preparedness to the rural and agricultural families in their own hometown. With cooperation from emergency services, farmers willing to improve safety for their family and employees, and a little initiative from local rural organizations, Emergency Actions Tube Toolkits will improve the chances of saving lives in agricultural communities across the nation.

To request an Emergency Action Tube Toolkit, please visit carle.org/emergencyactiontubes.