Like any other business, a farm should have in place the correct type and number of extinguishers, all stored in right places, to manage a potential fire.  On a farm in particular, having extinguishers suitable for putting out a fire caused by farm equipment for example will stop a fire spreading to your out buildings, stock and crops.

Fire Extinguishers Required on a Farm

There are many different types of extinguishers which are rated for the type of fire they’re made to extinguish as follows:

A – Combustible materials such as wood, paper and hay

B – Flammable liquids such as gas, oil, grease and other petroleum products

C – Electrical fires

D – Flammable metals

You need to carry out a risk assessment taking into account the size of your farm, the types of materials you have stored on your farm and the likelihood of a fire breaking out.  Only then will you be in a position to know which type and how many extinguishers you will need.

Where you Should Store Extinguishers on Your Farm

The risk assessment will also help to identify where you should store extinguishers on your farm. You need to pay particular attention to farm equipment which could be at risk of catching fire and ensure you have the appropriate types and numbers of extinguishers nearby.

Other key areas include:

  • Farm Buildings: it’s a good idea to have at least one fire extinguisher in all of your farm buildings.
  • Farm Equipment: you should mount suitable fire extinguishers on all tractors, trucks and other equipment. To keep costs down, you could consider mounting brackets on these vehicles and transferring the extinguisher from machine to machine as appropriate.

Using A Fire Extinguisher

You and your farm employees also need to know how to use a fire extinguisher in order to put out a fire and prevent it from spreading.

It’s important to know that you should discharge the contents fully to ensure the blaze is out. After successfully suppressing a fire, keep a close eye on it for a while in case of a flare up. If possible, safely move the problem material outside. If the fire flares up again to minimise risk.

Once an extinguisher is activated, it will need to be refilled and serviced..

If a fire is large and flames are lapping at the ceiling, or if the building is rapidly filling with smoke, you should evacuate the building and call emergency services.  Don’t attempt to put a large fire like this out yourself.

Managing Fire Hazards on a Farm

There are things that you can do to minimise the risk of a fire on your farm or in your farm buildings as follows:

  • Cut down and remove weeds and brush from around buildings, particularly during the summer months.
  • In farm buildings, check for excessive accumulation of dust, feathers, cobwebs, and other potential combustible materials.
  • Ensure flammable materials are stored away safely and away from ignition sources.
  • Check all wiring and electric motors and appliances for exposed wires, broken insulation, improper grounding and incorrect installations.
  • Make sure that air shafts are clean of dust and debris, motors are cleaned and oiled (if necessary) each season, and pulley belts are in good working order.
  • Check gas and fuel oil system for leaks and unsafe installations.
  • Keep flammable liquids away from open flames and motors that might spark; and never smoke when refuelling.
  • Clean up spills right away and put oily rags in a tightly covered metal container. Change your clothes immediately if you get oil or solvents on them.
  • Clearly mark flammable liquids and store them in approved containers in well ventilated areas away from heat and sparks.

It’s also a good idea to enforce a no smoking rule inside a building or areas where flammable and combustible materials are stored or near storage, shipping or receiving areas where boxes or other containers can easily start a fire.

Regular Servicing

On a farm, given the devastation a fire could reap on your business, it’s also important to have all of your fire safety equipment checked and serviced regularly. 

At Hartson Fire, this is one of the services we offer to all our clients including farmers.  You can find out more about our fire extinguisher servicing here  or alternatively, you can call us on the number below to book your annual service: