Firefighters, farmers mapping farm hazards
A QR code listing the hazards is fixed to the farm's mailbox and can be scanned by a smartphone
By M.L. Johnson, The Associated Press
The Journal Sentinel
MILWAUKEE — Without even thinking, Joe Ortner rattles off a list of items on his family's dairy farm that could kill you: 1,000 gallons of diesel, 500 gallons of gas, cleaning chemicals in the milking parlor, oil and lubricant for repair work and a 6-foot-deep manure pond in which you could drown. He pauses and adds three bulls to the list.
Agriculture remains one of the nation's most dangerous professions; accidents on farms kill hundreds and injure thousands each year. While the deadly blast at a Texas fertilizer plant last month was a sharp reminder of the risks posed by agricultural chemicals, tractors, stored grain, animals and power lines are threats, too.
To help rescuers reach people quickly and safely, a handful of Wisconsin farmers — Ortner included — have been working with researchers and firefighters on an online program that maps farm hazards. The recently completed pilot project built upon earlier work using paper maps; researchers at the National Farm Medicine Center hope the project can expand, with the online program eventually used nationwide.