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Secure your farm. Secure your safety

Time was, nobody locked doors or sheds or trucks on the farm. You didn’t have to. But now farm security is a major issue.

Corporal Miles Hiebert is with the RCMP in Manitoba. He says “It’s really important to secure your farm ­­— homes home, sheds, barns, and shops. Particularly because it’s very likely that your neighbours are too far away to see what’s happening on your property.” So security is up to you. Hiebert has some tips.

  •  Make a plan. First, think about your property boundaries. Regularly check the condition of fences and gates. Pay attention to slack wiring and investigate the cause. Repair damaged fences as soon as possible. Contact the RCMP if the fences appear to have been deliberately cut or tampered with.
  •  Securely mount gates at entrances to the property and other high-risk areas to strong posts, and lock with heavy-duty chains and padlocks when not in use.
  •  You might consider putting up warning signs on perimeter fencelines and gates to clearly indicate the boundaries of your property to illegal hunters and trespassers, even snowmobilers. Signs such as “Private Property, No Trespassing” and “No Hunting without Permission” may assist in the prosecution of trespassers if detected.

Trim trees and shrubs around your house and buildings to reduce hiding places and increase visibility to and from the main residence. Sounds like the city doesn’t it?

  •  Then, to make it tougher for intruders, Hiebert suggests installing sensor lighting around your house and buildings. Many farmers are putting in alarm systems, or at least video cameras, to deter or assist the RCMP in catching intruders. There are lots of choices for home and barn and buildings: day and night, infrared and digital video recording systems. Remember when a camera on the cows at calving time was pretty radical?
  •  Lock up your tools, equipment and ladders to prevent them from being stolen or used to gain access to the homestead, sheds, garages or other storage facilities. And be sure to keep storage and work areas clean and tidy so you’ll notice any theft right away!

Of course, there are many times you just can’t put your equipment back in the shed. So be smart. Park it away from more public areas if you can and make sure you or someone you trust can see it. Pocket the key and lock the cab door and the fuel cap. You might consider disabling the equipment by removing the distributor cap, battery or rotor.

Particularly as seeding approaches, Hiebert advises locking your seed, chemical and grain storages. And if you must leave a loaded truck or seeder in the yard overnight, take the key inside with you. Empty sprayer tanks if you have to leave them unattended anywhere.

Of course, keep a full inventory of all pesticides kept onfarm including the product name; manufacturers’ name; a description of the container/s; formulation type; quantities; expiry dates and values. Put this list with your emergency plan so if first-responders need to check, their work will go smoothly.

And once you’ve completed all this security detail, be sure you write down what you’ve done and what you expect others who work and live on your farm to do about security. For a plan template, go to www.planfarmsafety.ca. Then share it with your family, your employees and your local Community Watch team. Secure your farm. Secure your safety. †

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