It's that time of you year, again. We've got tips for you to keep you, your machinery, and your crops safe. We want you to have a successful harvest! So, here are some fire prevention tips so you can have a successful harvest.
5 Harvest Season Fire Prevention Tips
Let's get into it.
1. Every Piece of Equipment Needs a Fire Extinguisher
During harvest season, especially if there is a long spell of dry weather, the potential for fires is exceptionally high. The reason harvest time is so high-risk when it comes to fires can be explained a little more easily if you understand the science behind fires. Fire is what we see when combustion happens, and combustion is a chemical reaction between heat, oxygen, and fuel.
During harvest time, most farmers are working extra long hours to get everything in quickly. This means that machines are running for long hours, in the heat of the day, and are more likely to get gunked up with crop debris. According to the National Ag Safety Database, cereal grain harvest can be particularly dangerous. Cereal grains and other harvested materials can easily become that perfect fuel for a fire.
So, we always recommend that our farmers keep a fire extinguisher on every single piece of equipment. You never know when or where a fire will ignite, so it is important to be prepared with an extinguisher mere seconds away so you can knock down those flames asap.
2. Keep Your Machinery Clean
Yes, cleaning your machinery takes time, and we know that your time (especially during a harvest) is both valuable and fleeting. But, we still feel the need to stress how important it is that you keep your machinery clean. The buildup of plant materials or oil can be a huge fire hazard. So keeping your machinery clean, especially around the engine and engine compartment is essential for fire prevention. Because of this, Iowa State University recommends that farmers “use a high pressure washer or compressed air to remove caked-on oil, grease, and crop residue.” And, we could not agree more.
Related post: 10 Cotton Farming Fire Safety Tips
3. Provide Adequate Ventilation
Knowing what you know about fires, and how they require oxygen to start, it may seem strange that we are saying that ventilation and air flow are important for preventing fires. However, when it comes to preventing hayfires, this is most certainly the case. When hay is damp and baled, it can create a chemical reaction that can be a cause for barn fires. Because hay bales are so tightly packed, they trap extra heat inside of them and can begin to smolder. Smoldering hay bales can easily go undetected and can later spontaneously combust if they reach a high enough temperature and are exposed to oxygen. So, hazardous materials should be stored in well-ventilated areas to reduce the risk of that heat build-up.
4. Wait Before Refueling
When you have a tight window frame to get all your crops harvested within, it can be really tempting to go full-on harvest mode none-stop. We are all for working hard, but when it comes to refueling a hot piece of machinery, we cannot warn you strongly enough that that extra “wasted time” letting the machinery cool while fueling, is going to be money wasted if you bypass this step. Remember the three things that fire needs to start are fuel, heat, and oxygen, so if any of your fuel or diesel spills on your hot machinery, you are taking a real gamble that a fire doesn’t start. As a firefighter owned, operated, and endorsed company, we can share that manya fire has been started this way. Avoiding this circumstance is really simple, so do yourself and your farm a favor and take a 10-15 minute break before refueling. Grab yourself a lemonade, call your friend, go get a snack, or take a power nap. Then give yourself a pat on the back for keeping your machinery and farm safe.
5. Invest in an Automatic System
Yes, an Automatic system is expensive, but when you compare it to the expense of buying a new combine, it isn’t worth batting an eyelash. The reason farmers love automatic systems so much is that they can put out fires that would have perhaps gone unnoticed for quite some time by someone who is focused on driving a piece of machinery -- as they should be. 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.
Combine your automatic system with an Audio Visual Warning System, and you have a fire’s worst nightmare. Our Audio Visual Warning System is designed to light up and beep when your Automatic releases its agent. That way, if there is a fire that you don’t know about, you are notified immediately so you can hop out of your machinery and take care of the fire, or you can be in the know that you need to refill your automatic with more agent so you’re prepared for the future.
Your Life is Irreplaceable
If you do experience flames that get out of control, remember that human life is irreplaceable. No amount of insurance can bring you back, so if you find that your fire has gotten too large to handle, get away and focus on saving human life ahead of your machinery, livestock, and crops.
We know that now is a time of long hours, so we pray God’s blessings over all of you. Stay safe out there!