Spring is coming up! At this time of year, farmers are busy taking advantage of the ideal planting conditions; but that can also lead to long hours while farmers rush ahead to complete the job.
Due to the lack of awareness that can happen from working too much and too long, farmers are at risk for injuries and other accidents. Often enough, this lack of awareness leads to fires that can burn away crops, ruin equipment, and even lead to barn and home fires.
Instead of leaving yourself at risk, we have put together this simple safety guide to help you prevent fires during the planting season.
Practice Farm Fire Safety Prevention
Practice prevention at all times. In 2015, there were around 1,345,500 fires reported in the United States with an outside fire occurring somewhere in the United States every 52 seconds. On average, a fire injury is reported every 34 minutes, but with the proper safety precautions, most accidents can be avoided.
Especially during the planting season, a fire can fill a barn with smoke in 3 to 4 minutes and be completely engulfed shortly after. With the average fire department’s response time to arrive at rural zones between 14 to 20 minutes, a fire can do a lot of damage before help even arrives… but if you practice smart fire safety prevention, you can minimize damage and prevent fires in the future.
- Handle machinery with care. From the operation of a vehicle to its storage, cleaning, and repair, machinery needs to be kept up to date and in good condition. Look for fuel leaks, maintain engines to prevent overheating, and keep all machinery clean and free of combustible materials.
- Know your fire extinguishers. In the field, you need to know where the closest fire extinguisher is at all times. For farming purposes, a portable fire extinguisher is much more practical. At AKE Safety Equipment, we offer lightweight fire extinguishers that are 3x stronger than what is required by the Department of Transportation. Even in strong wind conditions, STOP-FYRE can save your combine and your field. Just last fall, a customer from Michigan saved 2 combines from fire using only one Standard STOP-FYRE Fire Extinguisher.
- No-smoking. A fire needs three things: flames, heat, and fuel. Because of this, make sure to strictly enforce a no-smoking rule inside buildings and near areas with combustibles and flammable liquids.
- Arrange vegetation around structures. Around barns, storage facilities, and residences make sure to trim tall trees between 6-15 feet from the ground. As well, you will want to keep shrubs and other vegetation spaced out to slow down or diminish the spreading of fire.
But even if you practice safety perfectly, a fire can still break out. What can you do then?
Create an Emergency Fire Plan
Should a fire ever break out, you need to discuss with crews, neighbors, and the fire department a plan of action. To start, we recommend identifying possible risks and minimizing them around your operations and residence. Also, you will need to train and conduct drills with employees and family to ensure that everyone understands their part in the plan.
In unison with your fire department, you need to make certain that you have an adequate water supply available if needed. One last thing, make sure that all obstructions are removed that could prevent the fire department from helping you if a fire should ever break out.
You are not alone when it comes to the fire safety of your farm. During planting season, work can get hectic. Therefore, it is good to know that you have adequate plans in place to prevent accidents. Keep this in mind, there are numerous public sources to obtain fire safety information.
Visit your local fire department or contact your state fire safety department to learn more about fire safety for your particular area. Last but not least, make sure that your STOP-FYRE is in good working conditions by just making a simple common sense inspection:
- Pick up your STOP-FYRE and make sure the gauge is in the green area (at the bottom).
- Shake it back and forth until feeling the concentrated agent.
- Lift the yellow cap and make sure nothing is blocking the actuator (For example, jelly beans, mud daubers, bugs, etc.).
- Make sure the metal pull pin is in place and the safety strap is intact.
- Do a final general visual inspection.
If you notice anything unusual, please contact us right away!