Seminar to Get Visitors Fired Up About Farm Safety
By Heidi Clausen
While talking about farm safety, Allen Kronebusch sometimes takes a little heat over the bigger price tag on his STOP-FYRE fire extinguishers.
But while some farmers might think they can’t afford to spend that much on fire protection, Kronebusch argues that they can’t afford not to have a reliable way to put out a fire on the farm.
“We charge a premium for our product, but they get exactly what they pay for,” he said. “They get Peace-of-mind.”
Farmers have a lot invested in their farms and equipment. Once they get past the bigger upfront cost of STOP-FYRE extinguishers, most agree that having the ability to quickly, effectively snuff out a combine or shop fire is a “no-brainer,” Kronebusch said.
“It’s really something that the farmers have been searching for,” he said, and “it’s a lot cheaper than a new combine.”
Kronebusch’s colleague, Steve Aguiar, will discuss “Farm Fire Safety — Don’t Get Burned By Your Fire Extinguisher” at the WPS Farm Show in Oshkosh. Aguiar will discuss farm safety and fire prevention and the STOP-FYRE fire extinguisher, touted by Kronebusch as “the world’s best fire extinguisher.”
Allen Kronebusch, a firefighter from Oronoco, Minn., started AKE, a manufacturer and marketer of fire extinguishers, in 1989. He said being a firefighter gives him a unique perspective on what works and doesn’t work in fire protection.
Kronebusch, who has relatives in the dairy industry, began focusing on farm fire protection a few years ago when his sales began to suffer due to the economic downturn. With two young sons, he also didn’t want to be traveling for work as much. Kronebusch said he closed his 17 nationwide sales offices, filled his car with extinguishers and started driving farm-to-farm.
Business has grown rapidly since then, he said. His goal is for STOP-FYRE to be the first choice in fire extinguishers for families, farms, and other businesses. “When you think of fire safety, we want to be your first thought,” he said.
Kronebusch said his product is popular with farmers because, unlike most others on the market, it won’t ruin expensive machinery.
“Pretty much every fire extinguisher on a farm contains a powder ammonium phosphate,” he said. “It’s better than nothing, but most people don’t maintain their fire extinguisher, so oftentimes they don’t work when they go to use them.” When they do work, they coat everything with a very corrosive powder that eats away at metal equipment, he said.
STOP-FYRE is different in that it contains a liquefied gas that is non-corrosive. “It doesn’t leave a residue behind,” he said. “It works on all … common types of fires you’ll encounter.”
Kronebusch said it also works well on chimney fires, which can be difficult to put out with a dry chemical.
He said he got lots of positive feedback about his product last fall after it was used heavily to put out on farm fires in the hot, dry and windy harvest conditions experienced in some states, increasing their farm safety.
Last year, STOP-FYRE was named official fire extinguisher of the National Tractor Pullers Association shortly after Kronebusch presented his product at the 2011 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky.
“Farm Fire Safety: Don’t Get Burned By Your Fire Extinguisher” will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 27, at the WPS Farm Show.