Does Your Operation Have a Fire Emergency Plan?
15 September 2017
Harvest is under way! Now is also the time to plan ahead for after harvest. Whether you are storing your equipment away or taking this time to make much-needed upgrades or fixes, stored equipment is just one of many ways that fires can start on operations. Most people don’t think a fire can occur on their operation, but when one does do they have a plan of action? When there is a plan in place, everyone will know what to do in the event a fire does break out.
Establishing and implementing a fire emergency plan for your operation is crucial. Work with the local fire department and make sure they know about your operation and where it’s located. This could help to avoid chaos and confusion when emergency responders aren’t familiar with your operation. Pre-planning also helps to become familiar with a number of things:
- The layout of the operation (buildings and other structures)
- Contact information day or night in the event of an emergency
- How utilities are controlled
- Evacuation plans
- Location of employees if a fire occurs
Most fires are caused by mechanical/electrical failures, maintenance deficiencies or misuse of equipment. Heaters are major cause of barn fires. Inspect barns before lighting heaters. Blow away any dirt and dust out of the heater. Also inspect the heat shield around the flame for rust or corrosion and inspect all gas fittings and electrical components. Another source of barn fires is electrical motors, tractors, skid loaders, and bearings that are part of these machines that overheat.
Highly Flammable Materials/ Accelerants
Hay, straw and any other type of bedding should not be stored in the same building as livestock nor should they be stored with machinery or any type of electrical source. Accelerants can increase the speed at which a fire spreads. Accelerants (gasoline, oil, kerosene) should be stored in approved containers and properly labeled.
Make sure when adding a new barn/ building to your operation that extra measures are taken to add:
- Approved fire doors
- Fire wall between hay/bedding storage and stabling area
- Materials that are flame retardant or fire resistant
- Smoke detectors, fire alarm and sprinkler systems
Many insurance companies will lower premiums if extra fire safety prevention is taken in the constructing of a new building or barn.
Planning ahead will help with everyone remaining calm and alert. The safety of others is most important on the operation. Find neighbors who can help out if a disaster should happen and familiarize them with your emergency plan. Protecting your farm operation is important, that’s why it’s always good to be prepared.