(Rural Roots Canada) – Communication is key in preparing and dealing with farm emergencies.

The President of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, Dr. Rebecca GimenezHusted, was the keynote speaker at Alberta Farm Animal Care’s virtual Livestock Care Conference in March.

Gimenez-Husted draws on her more than two decades of military experience for insight into the importance of communication when dealing with emergencies and why it frequently breaks down between people.

“Every time we did an operation (in the military), at the end, we would do alessons learned and every single time, we determined that we needed to communicate better,” Gimenez-Husted said.

She says the issue was not with the technology, but rather human error.

“It wasn’t that the radios didn’t work; it was the people wouldn’t pick up the phone.”

The lesson she says is, “Tell somebody what you know.”

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Gimenez-Husted says there are so many digital tools available to help you stay ahead, so internet access on your farm is crucial.

“So what apps and websites do you really need to not only keep up on your farm and animal information? Many people download those to get that information on the weather and whatever else is affecting what’s going on, on your farm.”

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She says it is also essential for those who work with producers, such as veterinarians, to keep everyone up to speed.  

“People look up to you, get information from you, particularly if you are an industry organization or a local veterinarian, they’ll be looking for information. It’s important to keep that information updated regularly and put things out via email, on your voice message, those kinds of things.”

She says if other people know your emergency plans, they get some responsive information.  

That includes your region’s emergency and disaster manager, so they can pass the information along, such as a road closure, if they need to.

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