If you caught our previous post or have seen the MFBF Facebook page, you likely know its Agricultural Safety Awareness Program (ASAP) Week. This week we’ve been talking to you about elements of safety that can easily be incorporated into the daily practices of your farm or ranch. Each day has a theme and you’ll find loads of great tips, information and resources to help you incorporate safety strategies and share them with others. While all that great information is on Facebook each day, we’re going to be recapping it here on the blog so you can easily and quickly refer to these tips whenever necessary.
Today we’re talking all things fire safety. Dealing with fire is nothing new for many farmers and ranchers. Sometimes, the cause of fire is entirely weather related and completely out of our control.
While some fires are caused by forces we can’t control others are entirely preventable. Sharpening your knowledge about fire control and prevention will put you ahead of the game in protecting yourselves preventing fires.
According to the National Ag Safety Database, the leading cause of agriculture fires is open flame caused by candles, matches, bonfires, sparks, static electricity, friction, welding and equipment.
General Fire Safety Precautions
- Strictly enforce a no-smoking rule inside buildings where flammable or combustible materials are stored
- Never smoke when re-fueling
- Barn or shop floors should be raked or swept clean of dust, hay and bedding. Vacuum up cobwebs and dust regularly.
- Arrange shops and barns so flammables are safely away from ignition sources.
- Weeds, twigs, and other trash should be kept mowed or picked up from around the outside of buildings.
- Manure piles should be at least 20 feet away from the barn to reduce the chance of combustion fire.
- Keep above ground fuel tanks at least 40 feet from buildings.
- Flammable liquids should be clearly marked and properly stored.
- Always have a fire extinguisher readily available when welding.
- Fire extinguishers should be placed in all farm machinery.
- Check machinery for buildup of dust and debris.
- Keep motors cleaned and oiled, if necessary.
- Regularly check for leaks in fuel lines, carburetors, pumps and filters.
- Practice fire drills and discuss fire protocols so employees are familiar with their responsibilities should a real fire occur.
- Beware of spontaneous combustion and know the signs: heat, release of moisture, visible vapor or steam