prevention is critical on any farm, but sometimes overlooked
until it is too late. The heat and smoke of fire, along with
the toxic gases and rapid loss of oxygen, can kill quickly.
Without prevention and safe management practices, you put
your own life at risk, as well as that of family members,
employees and animals. On top of that, your farm buildings,
equipment and means of earning an income can be wiped out
in minutes. Safe management practices can make the difference.
starters, you should:
"building in" fire hazards in the initial construction of
your farm buildings and management practices. For example,
use all noncombustible or flame-retardant materials possible.
Also, keep motors and machine tools free of dust and grease.
fire before it starts by keeping all ignition sources away
from combustible material in and around your farm buildings.
proper fire insurance coverage for your livestock, buildings
your local fire department to your farm. Let them get
acquainted with your facilities and help identify any fire
hazards. Ask for their input in making your operation more
fire-safe and fireproof.
and carry out a fire safety inspection for animal buildings
and other buildings. Follow a routine preventive maintenance
schedule and checklist for fire hazards.
regular fire drills, so all family members and employees
know what they should do. After a drill, hold a meeting
to discuss improvements in procedures and equipment. Educate
yourself and others about fire safety practices.
and upgrade your farm buildings in accordance with the latest
National Electrical Code. Use all noncombustible materials.
Install a lightning protection system and inspect it periodically.
good housekeeping part of your daily routine. Cut down
and remove weeds and brush from around buildings. Keep work
areas clean, dry and unobstructed. Never block exits or
aisles, even for a few minutes. If you have a poultry building,
check for excessive accumulations of dust, down feathers
or cobwebs on sides, roof or rafters. Find a place for everything
and keep it there.
your fire or smoke alarm system at least once a year. Likewise,
flush outside private fire hydrants at least once a year.
Check fire doors and shutters on a regular basis to make
sure they are free of any obstructions and in good operating
condition. Check all water control valves and air and water
pressures of automatic sprinkler systems every week.
sure that power needs for ventilation, feed distribution
and other functions are met without overloading your electrical
system. Follow the National Electrical Code. Use good
material and proper fuse size or circuit breaker rating.
Use junction boxes at all splice points. Use waterproof
wiring and receptacles, enclosed electric motors and similar
equipment in any buildings which are cleaned periodically
with high-pressure equipment.
all wiring and electric motors and appliances for exposed
wires, broken insulation, improper grounding and improper
installation. Equip motors with thermal overload relays
the heating system to make certain that every furnace
or stove is in good repair. See that ducts and air shafts
are clean of dust and debris, motors are cleaned and oiled
(if necessary) each season, and pulley belts are in good
working order. Check gas and fuel oil systems for leaks
and unsafe installations. Keep all types of heating devices
and other equipment clean and in good condition.
enforce a "no smoking" rule inside any buildings or
areas where flammable and combustible materials are stored.
Never smoke near storage, shipping or receiving areas where
boxes or other containers can easily start a fire.
extremely careful when handling gasoline. It is flammable
and explosive. If your clothing becomes contaminated with
a flammable material, change immediately. Never refuel gasoline
engines while they are running or hot.
flammable liquids in labeled safety containers and store
them in approved flammable-liquid safety cabinets.
aboveground fuel storage tanks at least 40 feet from buildings.
This setback minimizes the potential for fire spread
and generally is required for compliance with Wisconsin's
Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, ILHR 10. For more
information, contact your regional storage tank inspector
at the Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations.
and provide proper fire extinguishers. Always make sure
the unit on the wall matches the type of fires that could
develop in that area. There are different types of extinguishers
for different kinds of fires. If you use the wrong unit
on a fast-moving fire, you can cause the fire to spread
the extinguisher's instructions to learn how to use the
extinguisher before a fire ever starts. Make sure all
extinguishers are serviced, maintained and tagged at intervals,
not to exceed one year.
your limits and always think safety first. Fire extinguishers
cannot do the job of a local fire department. When a fire
burns for more than a couple of minutes, the heat starts
to build up and intensify. Once that happens, you are past
a point of first aid. Get out of the building and let firefighters
handle the situation.
the phrase P-A-S-S if you attempt to put out a small fire with
an extinguisher. P is for pull the pin of the extinguisher (or
with some units, Press the puncture lever or release the lock
hatch); A is for aim low or point the unit's nozzle at the base
of the fire; S is for squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing
agent; and the other S is for sweep from side to side. Keep
the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back
and forth until it appears to be out. Never turn your back on
a small fire, even if it looks as if it is out. Be prepared
in case it flashes again.
local fire department, your county agricultural agent, the
National Fire Protection Association
Control in Livestock Buildings," (NRAES 39), the Northeast
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
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