Southampton Farm Bureau promotes emergency aid to rural locations

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2022

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Southampton County and Wythe County Farm Bureaus were honored Nov. 30 by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation for projects conducted in their communities in 2022. The two organizations were recognized during the 2022 VFBF Annual Convention in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

A Virginia Farm Bureau news release noted that Southampton County Farm Bureau, led by President Gary Cross, received a first place VFBF County Award of Excellence for a countywide effort to expand the Enhanced 911 emergency system database to include farms and their barns and fields, as well as other rural locations.

The Southampton County Women’s Leadership Committee spearheaded the effort to work with the Southampton County Fire and Rescue Association to develop an online GPS database of farm locations. County residents were asked to enter additional property locations into the system. Many farms have multiple buildings or are large enough that a single E911 farmhouse address is too vague when emergency assistance is needed quickly.

“The positive impact of this program is to give first responders the tools they need to get to the right place quickly and know what they are walking into before they get there,” Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Marguerite Cross said. “Of particular note is the ability for farmers to explain the kind of operation they have and any hazards present so first responders know what kind of equipment to send, proactively. This benefits the members but also the local community by improving safety outcomes.”

The program has been well received, and the database continues to grow as more rural residents submit their GPS locations.