Barn fires are a devastating event for farmers and their families with financial and emotional impacts being felt for many years after the incident.
It’s not only our farmers who suffer when farms are damaged. When food supply chains are under added pressure and insecurity during hard times it’s more important than ever to keep our farm buildings and equipment safe. The less our farmers can produce the more uncertain our food supply becomes.
We discuss the stats, causes and a few preventative guidelines of barn fires in a previous article and would now like to expand on this with 3 more ways to reduce the risk of barn fires.
LIMIT USE OF TEMPORARY ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT
Anything that’s not hardwired directly into the electrical system is considered temporary. This includes anything powered with an extension cord into a wall outlet or generator.
Examples of temporary electrical equipment are power tools, lighting and heaters.
Long term or frequent use of equipment like this will increase the risk of a fire being ignited by a degraded outlet or extension cord.
If you must use temporary electrical equipment in or around a barn, make sure to:
- Monitor the work closely
- Do not use damaged or frayed cords
- Ensure an extinguisher is nearby
- Store cords and equipment safety away from livestock when not in use
BE SAFE WITH HOT WORKS
Hot works mean pretty much anything that produces heat and sparks such as welding, grinding or cutting with torches.
The sparks produced can come in contact with nearby combustible materials such as manure, hay or other debris igniting a fire or even leading to an explosion.
The best way to perform these types of jobs safely is to do it outside of the building away from any combustible materials. If that’s not possible, make sure the area you’re working in has ventilation to prevent the buildup of combustible gases and that all combustible materials are moved away.
PARTICIPATE IN FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT
This is a service offered by your local fire department or insurance provider, typically free of charge or included as part of your policy.
These assessments are on-site reviews of your buildings by individuals who are specially trained to locate fire risks and provide specific recommendations on how to reduce the risk.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see the forest through the trees and having another set of experienced eyes can be helpful to spot some things you may have overlooked.
Once your buildings have been assessed and recommendations made, it’s important to implement the improvements as quickly as possible to make sure you’re protected.
A free assessment could end up saving your building, livelihood or even your life.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about this or any other topic related to your insurance.