Almost every farm and ranch across the country uses multiple pieces of equipment and has several barns and outbuildings. Any one of these could start on fire at any time. It's extremely important that a ranch or farm make sure they are taking the steps to prevent fires and have the basics needed to fight them should one break out. This is important not only to the farmer's equipment, property, livestock, and livelihood, but to the surrounding community as well, especially if the farm or ranch is located near a heavily forested area. Here is what you need to know to protect your farm.
Check Your Machinery
Before starting up a piece of machinery each day, do a quick "pre-trip" inspection, just like professional truck drivers do. Look for any crop residue build-up around the engine. Check the belts to make sure they aren't frayed. Double-check to make sure you don't see any leaking fluids, fuel, and oil. Set up a monthly maintenance check where parts can be inspected, lubricated, and replaced if need be. Not only does this potentially prevent a fire from starting, it keeps your machinery working and in good shape. Other types of farm equipment needs to be checked as well, such as conveyor belts, grain elevators, augers, combines, and balers.
Be Cautious With Your Vehicles
Don't forget your pickup trucks and other vehicles. The manifold and exhaust system can reach well over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit in a gas engine, and the catalytic converter can reach to 1,400 degrees. This means that driving through or parking in tall grass can be dangerous, especially if the conditions are right like they often are in the middle of a hot, dry summer. Grass and other vegetation can start on fire virtually instantly, and a grass fire can quickly spread out of control. Try to avoid driving in such areas, and consider having prescribed burns by a professional.
Practice Safe Fueling Habits
It's easy to get lazy when it comes to fueling machinery, especially during busy times, such as sowing and harvesting. Fueling safely takes time, but it saves farms, woods, and lives.
- Turn the engine off every single time.
- Let the engine cool down for 10–15 minutes before refueling. This is the perfect time for a break to keep yourself hydrated and fueled.
- Don't put fuel in approved containers
- Wipe up spills and allow the fumes to dissipate before re-starting any machinery.
- Extinguish all smoking materials.
Have Fire Extinguishers Everywhere A Fire Could Break Out
Every piece of equipment and vehicle needs to have a fire extinguisher in easy reach. One should be in each driver's compartment. There should also be extinguishers located throughout the barn, milking shed, on the silo, chicken coop, farm garage, wherever welding is being done, and any other buildings or machinery sheds. The average farm requires a lot of extinguishers, and those extinguishers need to be maintained and inspected as well. For most farmers, this job is easier to manage by simply paying for a service to tend to the chore for you.
For more information, talk to a professional like Echo Fire Protection.