An initiative hoping to save lives in rural communities in Ontario continues to pick up steam.
It’s called the Farm 911: The Emily Project, a program that encourages agricultural land owners to have a civic address at the entrance to their farm field to assist first responders in the event of an emergency or accident.
The first sign in Prince Edward County was unveiled at the entrance to a field on County Road 5 near Picton on Wednesday. Resi Walt, a representative of the project and farmer who works for the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, is also a driving force behind the initiative.
“I think we really take for granted that when we’re headed out somewhere, we just throw it on Google Maps and there’s an address that we know,” Walt said.
“Farm land has been completely missed from that whole process so we’re playing catch up.”
First responders were also on hand as the first sign arrived. Taking part were the Ontario Provincial Police, Prince Edward County Fire Department and local Paramedics.
Also in attendance was Scott Trudeau, whose daughter, Emily, was the namesake of the project.
In 2014, Emily, 7, passed away after an accident on her family farm. On the day of the accident, an ambulance having trouble finding the farm had to be flagged down by a family member.
“It’s nice to see the support that these municipalities are giving us and, I for one, definitely understand the importance of it and how useful the sign will be,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau says he was pleased to be on hand for the launch.
“In time, it will catch on more and more and it will provincially catch on, as well,” he said. “I think especially going through the first responders, the police and fire department are here and being on that system, they can check that … with their iPhone or Google maps and drive right to that location.
“It’s a great thing.”
Those interested must apply for a Farm 911 sign and pay for it. The cost is $55.