16 Tractor Safety Guidelines F. Emergency Preparedness Do you know what to do in the event of an emergency? What defines an emergency when you’re operating a tractor? An emergency is defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as “any unplanned event that can cause death or significant injuries to employees or the public; or that can disrupt operations, or cause physical or environmental damage.” Agricultural emergencies can be natural or man-made. Natural emergencies include thunderstorms, lightning strikes, tornadoes, flooding, winter storms, excessive heat and fires. Examples of man-made emergencies may include rotating and moving equipment incidents, amputations, chemical releases or spills, turnovers and rollovers, workplace violence, accidental poisoning and fires. The first step in planning for potential emergencies is to perform an assessment of what might constitute an emergency while operating a tractor. The second, how should you prepare for each? And third, who should be contacted for different events? Fire Fires may occur on tractors, equipment, in fields, and in buildings. If a piece of equipment is the source of the fire’s ignition, this can result in the equipment becoming engulfed in the fire. Did you check to see that your tractor is equipped with a fire extinguisher and that the gauge is in the green before starting the tractor? Other preventative measures include keeping machinery clean and free of combustible materials and periodically checking equipment during operation for field trash or heated bearings and belts. Medical Being prepared for medical emergencies is important. Ensure that a well stocked first aid kit is available, and that you are trained in basic first aid. Being prepared for a medical emergency is vital in rural areas because rescue personnel may have further to travel in the event of an emergency. Mechanical Failure No matter how well a tractor or piece of equipment is maintained, breakdowns are inevitable. Contingency planning for mechanical failures such as a flat tire or broken shaft is essential. Planning should include emergency phone numbers to call during business hours, as well as after-hours.