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Agritourism severe weather planning
This is the time of year when the risk of severe weather is high. Combine bad weather with oodles of patrons at your agritourism event, and you could have a real emergency to deal with. The time to prepare is when the sun is shining. Everyone involved in your operation should help with planning and be on the same page knowing what to do.
Danelle Bickett-Weddle is the associate director of the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University. She says as an example, what would you do with your customers if a tornado watch was issued for your area?
"Would you notify the patrons that they’re in a tornado watch, and if you are going to notify them, how? Or maybe you’re like, I’m going to wait and see if it gets more serious, I might wait and see if a warning is issued. I might at a watch level ask people to leave. I might say, shelter in place," she says. "Do you have the capability to shelter? Put your business in that situation today, and think through, what would I do?"
Bickett-Weddle says a well-prepared pick-your-own patch should have some type of notification system to warn people and let them know what to do in case of emergency.
"They should have safe, sturdy buildings available for the maximum capacity of patrons and animals, and marked as tornado shelters. Bathrooms are great tornado shelters," she says. "Cell phones after an event don’t always work because the tower takes a tumble, and so what do we have? And then what is the evacuation plan? What does the evacuation plan look like not only for you and your staff, but your customers?"
Even if tornadoes aren’t common in your area, know what your disasters are and how you would handle them.