Fire prevention on the farm

With organic materials like hay and feed and large mechanical equipment, a typical farm has many potential fire safety hazards. Here are a few tips to prevent fires on your farm.

  1. Make it a habit to maintain good housekeeping in the barn and keep the yard clear of brush and other flammable debris. Sparks from machinery or even a stray cigarette can turn litter into kindling. Smoking materials that are not properly extinguished can smoulder undetected for days before igniting a fire. Never discard smoking materials on the ground or in plant pots.
  2. Provide adequate ventilation to prevent buildup of chemical vapours, silo gases, and other hazardous byproducts. Proper airflow helps dissipate flammable gas and vapours, and prevents heat buildup.
  3. Maintain electrical equipment and keep wires safely enclosed in metal or PVC pipes to protect them from exposure to weather and animals. Keep flammable items away from heat sources, and clean away dirt and dust buildup from appliances and equipment to stop overheating. Never leave portable heating units unattended.
  4. Refuel equipment outdoors, away from open flames and as far from buildings as possible, to allow harmful vapours to dissipate. Make sure engines are not running or still hot before refuelling.
  5. Portable fire extinguishers should be properly maintained, regularly inspected and easy to find in each farm building, especially near mechanical equipment and storage areas that contain flammable materials.
  6. Avoid using heat lamps, solar lamps, trouble lights, heated watering bowls or other such heated devices to warm your pets’ outdoor home (e.g. dog house). Portable electrical heating systems or temporary installations are subject to damage and/or failure, contributing to fires. Instead, use borrowed heat which involves providing warmth from a heating system located in a separate building.  Heated air or piped water is transferred to the area requiring heat. For example, a warm air supply from your house will send warmed air to the pet’s outdoor shelter. Caution: exposed piping can still be subject to chewing, leading to water damage and/or failure of hot water heating systems. If borrowed heat isn’t possible, consider bringing your pets inside during extreme cold.