If a fire breaks out on your farm, will you be ready? To handle a fire on your farm, you need the proper safety equipment in place — and that means having fire extinguishers stored in all the right places. Keeping fire extinguishers for farm equipment handy helps you protect your farm by preventing fires from worsening.
Types of Fire Extinguishers for Your Farm
There are several types of fire extinguishers available, but the best type for farm use is a multipurpose “ABC” type. ABC extinguishers generally use ammonium phosphate as the active chemical to extinguish a fire and are capable of putting out most common fires. Extinguishers are rated for the type of fire they’re made to extinguish:
- A – Ordinary 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
Multipurpose fire extinguishers are available in three sizes: 2.5 pounds, 5 pounds and 10 pounds. The larger the extinguisher, the longer it takes to completely discharge. The discharge time for these sizes ranges from 8 to 25 seconds. Because the discharge time for these sizes ranges from 8 to 25 seconds, a 5-pound extinguisher is the minimum size that should be purchased for farm buildings and equipment.
Where to Store Fire Extinguishers on Your Farm
You should store fire extinguishers near farm equipment at risk of catching ablaze.
Your farm shop is particularly fire prone due to the types of equipment and chemicals often kept in your shop. It’s good to have at least one fire extinguisher in all of your farm buildings.
You should mount fire extinguishers on all tractors, combines, trucks and other equipment. To cut down on the cost of purchasing several fire extinguishers, mounting brackets can be attached to equipment and the extinguisher can be transferred from seasonal equipment when it’s not in use.
Mounting a Fire Extinguisher
It’s a good idea to mount your fire extinguishers at eye level and near exits. That way in the event of a fire your escape route and path to an extinguisher location are the same. If the fire is of a size that you can tackle with an extinguisher, you’ll still have your escape route at your back if things get out of hand.
Using Your Fire Extinguisher
When using an extinguisher, discharge the contents fully to ensure the blaze is out. Once an extinguisher is activated, it won’t hold pressure over the long-term anymore and will need to go to a service facility to be refilled. After successfully suppressing a fire, keep a close eye on things for a while in case of a flare up. If possible, safely move the problem material outside. If the fire flares up again, your shop won’t be at risk.
If a fire is large and flames are lapping at the ceiling, or if the building is rapidly filling with smoke, getting out is probably your best option.
As a farm owner, when you arm yourself with the right type of fire extinguisher, you can often extinguish or contain a fire before it becomes a major blaze.
After a Fire on the Farm
Take these steps after a fire to ensure you get the help you need.
- Seek Safety
Your safety should be your top priority. Make sure that others are removed from the fire as well.
- Take Pictures
If filing an insurance claim, pictures will likely be helpful. Take photos from all angles and share them with your Farm Bureau agent.
- Call Your Insurance Company
Call your insurance company to report the incident and file a claim.
Talk with your Farm Bureau agent today to ensure that your farm and your machinery are adequately covered. Consider adding Replacement Cost Coverage for your farm machinery. This coverage adds a layer of protection should your machinery be damaged beyond reasonable repair due to fire, collision or other covered occurrence.