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City of Hamilton joins Farm 911 initiative

City of Hamilton joins Farm 911 initiative

More work needs to be done to include active farms, the president of the OFA said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The City of Hamilton is signing onto an initiative designed to help first responders locate farm and rural properties without municipal addresses.

On Jan. 8, Hamilton announced its involvement in Farm 911, also known as The Emily Project.

The initiative, which launched in 2017, is named after Emily Trudeau, a seven-year-old girl who passed away in 2014 after an accident on her family’s farm in Tweed.

Emily’s mother had to flag down the first responders because they couldn’t find the entrance to the farm.

The program provides civic addresses to rural properties. These addresses include a civic number, a full street name and the municipality, multiple municipal websites say.

Work on bringing this project to Hamilton has been years in the making.

“The local federation of agriculture has been advocating for this for a few years,” Drew Spoelstra, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and farmer from Binbrook, Ont., told Farms.com. “We’re glad the City has brought this on board and trying to address the concerns about access to emergency services.”

Local first responders are encouraging farm and rural property owners to participate in the program.

“I strongly encourage anyone who owns vacant agricultural or rural property to participate in the Farm 911 – Emergency Access Point (EAP) program,” Hamilton Fire Chief David Cunliffe said in a statement. “This program will provide our Firefighters a way to quickly identify the access points to these properties, when seconds count.”

In Hamilton, property owners who sign up will receive a red and white address sign to install at an access point. There’s no cost to enroll in the program.

Spoelstra is, however, concerned with part of the City’s rollout of the program.

Hamilton will first focus on vacant parcels of farmland. And properties with multiple entry points will require separate emergency access point numbers.

“We’ve got a little bit of work to do to get that smoothed out to make the City realize that the access points to farms are more important too and they need to be properly identified for emergency services as we move along.”

More than 20 regions and municipalities across Ontario are involved with Farm 911.

The application form and program details can be found on the City of Hamilton website.


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