UMASH Success Story: Training Rural Firefighters

UMASH Success Story: Training Rural Firefighters


People who work in agriculture are 7 times more likely to die on the job than the average U.S. worker. There are inadequate numbers of safety consultants to assist farmers in making their farms safer.

In pilot research, farmers expressed willingness to make changes to behavior and operations if given advice from their local fire department.

Firefighters are trusted leaders in rural and agricultural communities. Strong partnerships between firefighters and farmers can help make farms safer.

In the Rural Firefighters Delivering Agricultural Safety and Health (RF-DASH) program, farmers and first responders unite to improve farm safety and prevent agricultural incidents in rural communities. RF-DASH partners with institutions that offer industry-leading tools and technology to help achieve the goal of increasing farm safety.

Learn more at rfdash.org


RF-DASH uses a train-the-trainer approach, with a curriculum that is in line with many National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. The five-part training covers:

  1. Introduction to Agricultural Emergencies
    Causes of the most common farm emergencies and strategies to expedite and improve responses.
  2. Preplanning and Mapping Farms
    Preplanning and mapping farms to expedite response times in an emergency using the free, online, mobile-friendly tool, Farm-MAPPER.
  3. Farm Hazard Analysis
    Identifying common hazards found on farms and using Saferfarm.org and the Farm Hazard Analysis Tool (FARM-HAT) to correct them and reduce the risk of injury on farms.
  4. Farm First Aid
    How to manage a victim injured in a farm incident while emergency services are en route to the scene.
  5. Approaching the Farm Community
    Reaching out and approaching the farming community to implement the RF-DASH program on their area’s operations.

RF-DASH Highlights

  • U.S. and Canada map of RF-DASH trainingsOver 100 firefighters/EMS have been trained as trainers in the program from 10 states and 5 Canadian provinces. They have gone on to train over 500 agricultural safety and health professionals, educators, community members and farmers.
  • RF-DASH has been highlighted by a multitude of media sources around the U.S. and Canada including: Progressive Dairyman, Daily Dispatch, Western Producer, Successful Farming, and more.
  • RF-DASH is working with representatives from FEMA, APHIS, and the National Response Team to help rural communities prepare for agricultural hazards and bridge gaps in current emergency preparedness planning.

RF-DASH and Farm Mapper Highlight Videos

“The opportunity to help the people who do so much for our communities is something we wouldnever say ‘no’ to. We were glad to learn ways we could be safer here, just by hosting the group on the farm.”

– Paul and Barb Liebenstein, Wolf Creek Dairy

“Excellent course. Very useful information and great ideas for pre-planning farm emergencies.”

-Wisconsin EMS Association participant

“I think that’s the plus of the program, taking rural firefighters and engaging them with that population. It’s a small enough community that everyone knows each other. There’s already a relationship there so-it’s not a government agency or an insurance company or something threatening, it’s someone who knows them and says, ‘Dude, I care about you, Let’s work together to make it better.‘””

– RF-DASH Trainee