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Farm mapping to assist, protect, and prepare emergency responders: Farm MAPPER.

Reyes IR; Tolling T; Mahnke A; Kadolph C; Minor G; Keifer M
J Agromed 2014 Jun; 19(2):90-95
Responders such as firefighters and emergency medical technicians who respond to farm emergencies often face complex and unknown environments. They may encounter hazards such as fuels, solvents, pesticides, caustics, and exploding gas storage cylinders. Responders may be unaware of dirt roads within the farm that can expedite their arrival at critical sites or snow-covered manure pits that act as hidden hazards. A response to a farm, unless guided by someone familiar with the operation, may present a risk to responders and post a challenge in locating the victim. This project explored the use of a Web-based farm-mapping application optimized for tablets and accessible via easily accessible on-site matrix barcodes, or quick response codes (QR codes), to provide emergency responders with hazard and resource information to agricultural operations. Secured portals were developed for both farmers and responders, allowing both parties to populate and customize farm maps with icons. Data were stored online and linked to QR codes attached to mailbox posts where emergency responders may read them with a mobile device. Mock responses were conducted on dairy farms to test QR code linking efficacy, Web site security, and field usability. Findings from farmer usability tests showed willingness to enter data as well as ease of Web site navigation and data entry even with farmers who had limited computer knowledge. Usability tests with emergency responders showed ease of QR code connectivity to the farm maps and ease of Web site navigation. Further research is needed to improve data security as well as assess the program's applicability to nonfarm environments and integration with existing emergency response systems. The next phases of this project will expand the program for regional and national use, develop QR code-linked, Web-based extrication guidance for farm machinery for victim entrapment rescue, and create QR code-linked online training videos and materials for limited English proficient immigrant farm workers.
Farmers; Agricultural-industry; Agriculture; Agricultural-workers; Emergency-responders; Fire-fighters; Emergency-response; Medical-personnel; Medical-rescue-services; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Hazards; Fuels; Solvents; Pesticides; Insecticides; Author Keywords: Emergency responder; QR code; quick response codes
Matthew Keifer, MD, MPH, National Farm Medicine Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, 1000 N. Oak Avenue, ML1, Marshfield, WI 54449
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Agriculture
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U54-OH-010170; M062014
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Journal of Agromedicine
Performing Organization
University of Minnesota
Page last reviewed: October 22, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division