“Do not take the orange weather warning for granted”, Teagasc warns farmers in Limerick as Storm Lorenzo hits the country.
The organisation is insisting that making safety a priority on farms is vital as a status orange wind warning comes into effect for Limerick – as well as for Kerry, Clare, Mayo and Galway.
Business and Technology Advisor for Teagasc in Kilmallock, Pat Blackwell said there are a few key things to remember when a storm strikes.
“We know from previous storms that the things that cause the most harm are electricity and power lines, the force of wind, working and being alone and just not observing the orange weather warning itself,” Pat explained.
“We advise people to keep out of harm’s way. Farmyards tend to be dangerous for a number of reasons. There can be buildings with quite old rooves in disrepair that get detached due to the weather and farmers get a rush of blood to the head to try and save things like that. Going out to tie down a roof or some equipment is not worth your life.”
Pat advises all farmers who do venture out to bring their mobile phone or make their whereabouts known to someone.
“Farmers, in weather like this, are concerned for their yard and their stock and will often go outside to check on animals, but the best thing they can do is leave everything once the weather gets bad.
“Do not work alone, if you are leaving then take a mobile phone. Older farmers tend to not appreciate danger and taking precautions for personal safety can feel like showing a sign of weakness. Farmers sometimes think they are Superman in this weather and that they are invincible. Weather warnings absolutely cannot be taken for granted.”
Practical measures can be taken to cope with weather like this and reduce the impact.
“In fields that are not south facing there is some shelter from the prevailing wind. Cattle that are exposed tend to be okay but high winds make them unsettled and they can potentially smash wires. It is best to place them in fields that are not south facing,” Pat continued.
“Never use a chainsaw in the high wind. Farmers have met their death from going out and using chainsaws before the worst of the wind has died down.
“Do not go near electricity lines that may be down to assess a situation yourself. That is for an expert to do.
“Dairy cows have a huge water demand, so in the morning when the storm has calmed, check their water supply, with safety. While it might be wet outside, the animals’ water supply might have been affected.”
The Department of Agriculture have also issued a warning for farmers and those living in rural areas to take extra precautions to ensure their safety.
An urge for farm safety also comes after a man in his 80s tragically died on a farm in Dromcollogher on Sunday last.
The status orange wind warning for Limerick comes into effect at 6 o’clock this evening and will remain until 3am tomorrow.