10 Cotton Farming Fire Safety Tips
Not too long ago, some members of our AKE Safety Equipment team had the chance to scoot down to the South to get their shoes dirty and learn more about the cotton industry. We really wanted to get a feel for what our customers do, and what their needs are in terms of product. We aren’t just trying to make a pretty penny. We want to create a product that works. Here’s the thing, if you didn’t know already, we are firefighter owned, operated, and endorsed. That means we care about fire safety. That is why we are dedicated to creating the most reliable product on the market: The World’s BEST Fire Extinguisher®. Our products are available to give you peace-of-mind when it comes to fires. So you can keep your family, farm, and expensive equipment safe.
So without further ado, let’s get you 10 real-life cotton farming fire safety tips.
1. Keep Your Bale Chambers Clean
It sounds simple, but as we know, cotton is highly flammable. Fires are just waiting to happen where there is an accumulation of debris because all that fuel needs is a little heat. That heat can come from friction, a wire malfunction, your machine itself, etc. So, keeping the lint or trash build-up down to minimum is key for reducing the likelihood of a fire. Cotton Farming stated, “Use a broom or your hands to remove large accumulations of lint and trash in the basket or bale chambers. Do this chore any time during the day when waste buildup becomes a fire hazard or if a sensor indicates a false condition. Although it is time-consuming, it can be very effective to go ahead and clean the whole basket/chassis area.” Keep those bale chambers clean, folks!
2. Have a Fire Safety Plan
One of the most basic things you can do for yourself and your farm in terms of fire safety is to have a plan of action when it comes to fires. To prepare for a fire, the most important thing you can do is create an evacuation plan. This is relevant for your house, barn, shed, equipment, everything! Know where your fire safety exits are, so that you can be prepared when a fire happens. Because here’s the thing, fires aren’t a matter of “if” but of “when”. Tell your neighbors your exact address. Living in a rural setting, it takes the fire department longer to get to your location. In fact, the average rural fire department response time is 37 minutes. When it comes to fires, every minute matters, so you don’t want that fire department wasting time by heading to the wrong location.
3. Invest in a Cotton Automatic Fire Suppression System
Since the launch of our Cotton Automatic System, our cotton farmers have given us some great feedback on how helpful the product is. This product is designed to put out fires that you do not know exist. Imagine that you are stripping cotton and do not see smoke or flames coming from your equipment. The fire could be out of control and your machinery engulfed in flames before you have the chance to put them out, but not with our Automatic System. The fusible plug, on the end of the stainless steel hose, is designed to melt at 165° F, which automatically releases STOP-FYRE® clean agent to put out the fire immediately. The length of the hoses are designed to place the plugs in a position where fires are most likely to occur on your machine for optimal fire protection.
For added peace-of-mind, we also created an Audio Visual Warning System (AVWS). The AVWS uses an 86 decibel alarm and 2250 lumen flashing red LED strobe light to alert you to when your automatic extinguisher has gone off. Now you never have to worry or wonder again!
The reason that these systems have been so popular with our cotton farmers is… well, there are many. Let’s jump into them.
Why Cotton Farmers Love STOP-FYRE®
- The Automatic System helps you AVOID DOWNTIME with no mess or corrosion.
- It is EASY to install and uninstall.
- It will NOT void your machine’s warranty.
- There are multiple insurance benefits.
- You get a Lifetime No-Hassle Guarantee™. That means we don’t do 1, 3, or 5 year warranty with hoops to jump through and lists of qualifying circumstances. We guarantee that if any of the fire safety equipment we manufactured is EVER not in working condition, we will repair or replace it with a new unit of equal or greater value.
4. Post Your Address Prominently
Fires cause a lot of panic, right? To make it really clear and decrease confusion, post 9-1-1 and directions to your farm on the walls of the barn, in your cotton harvester, or wherever there is danger of a fire starting. This is especially important when it comes to the countryside, because sometimes streets or lanes don’t have names, and you’ll need to share landmarks with the fire department so they can get to your location faster.
5. Keep a Fire Extinguisher on Every Piece of Machinery
According to Cotton LEADS 200 pounds of cotton can be harvested in 90 seconds. That means in just an hour, you’re harvesting about 8,000 pounds of cotton. That’s a large load of cotton! And, that big ole load of cotton represents hours, upon hours, upon hours of hard work. That’s something that you don’t want to lose. Fires just need mere seconds to ignite into flames, and just minutes to get out of hand. That is why it is essential that you are prepared to snuff out a fire as quickly as possible. So, we always recommend to farmers that they keep a fire extinguisher on every single piece of machinery, from a lawnmower to a cotton stripper and everything in between.
The beauty of our fire extinguishers is that they are lightweight and compact, so they can be easily stored or mounted, but they still hold enough clean agent to be able to blast large fires. Not only that, but they require no monthly or yearly maintenance. Farmers are busy people and quite frankly the lifeblood of this country, so we created a product that doesn’t waste that precious time. You have better things to do than shake a fire extinguisher every 30 days.
6. Be Careful Where You Smoke
Let’s get into the science behind fires just for a second. Fires are started when a chemical reaction takes place, right? And, to continue to grow and burn, fires require heat, fuel, and oxygen. If you work with cotton, that’s a crap ton of fuel right there. You know? It’s no secret that cotton is highly flammable. So, to decrease the likelihood of a fire, don’t be letting sparks and excess heat near potential fuel sources. To ensure smoking safety on your farm, hang “no smoking” signs in areas of your farm where large amounts of cotton, dust, lint, etc. are located.
7. Keep Your Barn Clean
We know, we know. It’s utterly impossible to keep a barn clean. And, that’s “udderly” for you cattle and dairy farmers. Here is what we mean. Sweep up loose cotton and stray fluff from around your barn. Keep the lint and dust on the floor down to a minimum. Don’t leave anything flammable near lights or anything hot. The idea is to minimize the amount of fuel in your barn.
8. Do an Inspection
If you really want to add assurance that your barns, sheds, and equipment are as safe as possible, call up your local fire department and ask a firefighter to inspect your property. With his or her expertise, you can find out what needs to be changed around your farm to ensure that you and your coworkers are working in the safest possible environment. Because, here’s the thing, in America, on average, homes have a fire every 10 years, but farms are 3x more likely to have a devastating fire. Those are stats that we don’t like at all. But, we share them so that you know what you are up against.
9. Never Refuel in an Enclosed Area
Fuel for fires can be a number of different things: wood, lint, trash, cotton, hay, manure, paper, etc. But as far as accelerants go, there are four common ones we are referring to here: gasoline, kerosene, diesel, and oil. These are substances that increase the speed at which fire spreads. In our day, we’ve heard many stories of fires starting because sparks from welding, heat from a motor, or electrical wires (all of which are ignition sources) came in contact with an accelerant. Sometimes these things just happen, but you can avoid these ignition sources and accelerants from being too close to one another. One way to do that is to refuel your equipment outdoors. Another thing you can do is make sure your equipment is turned off and cooled down before you begin fueling.
10. Stay Up to Speed on Fire Safety Education
We say it all the time, but we are firefighter owned, operated, and endorsed. Why do we say this? We want you to understand that our business has been created around “putting out fires”. That is where our passion lies. We want to create the most reliable product on the market so that people like you can save your possessions, farm, family, and self. We’ve been around the block. We know that fires are incredibly devastating, so we want to give you the tools you need to put them out and keep them out.
Be Prepared and Save Your Farm
One of the best things you can do for your farm is to just be prepared. This means understanding that a fire will happen at some point and having the steps in place to conquer those flames when they do arise. We don’t want to be tacky, but you can buy that peace-of-mind when you buy our product. We created it with you in mind. Check it out in action here.