Stay Out Of The Hot Seat

It’s one thing to be in the hot seat when consumers complain about high food prices. It’s quite another to land there for real. In case you missed it, Canadian Fire Prevention Week was early October this year and the organizers came up with a practical list of fire prevention tips for farmers.

Top of their list to save lives:

Install smoke alarms inside and outside all bedrooms and in all principal buildings.

Install the appropriate fire extinguishers in key areas.

Work with the local fire department to develop and practise a fire escape plan with family and employees, and determine a meeting place.

Identify who may require special assistance (the elderly and handicapped).

Make sure buildings are well spaced.

Keep cistern and stock ponds relatively full and provide clear access to water source.

Ensure that appropriate fire protection equipment is accessible.

Cut out this checklist. Pin it on your office bulletin board and check off the completed tasks.

Keep fire department numbers posted on all telephones.

Ensure all electrical wiring is inspected and up to code.

Ensure all electrical equipment has a nationally recognized testing agency certification.

Replace worn wiring and use only 15-amp fuses unless otherwise specified.

Remove wiring and lighting from wet areas.

Inspect and maintain fire extinguishers regularly. Designate safe smoking areas away from barns, crops, stores or flammable materials.

Before burning, check regulations with your local authority.

Burn rubbish in an incinerator equipped with a spark arrestor and never in a high wind.

Keep a pail of water nearby.

Never carry out field burning.

Do not use fumigants near an open flame or electric equipment.

Clean up. Remove all trash from the property.

Repaint weathered surfaces and remove rotting wood and fencing.

By now, you may have most of your crop in storage where it’s “Out of the frying pan into the…” unless you follow what seems like common-sense care instructions. Remember — crops in storage can spontaneously combust so:

Inspect daily for signs of steaming, irritating odours, wet areas and “flues” in the hay for several weeks.

Have firefighting equipment immediately accessible.

And grain or hay isn’t the only potential fire hazard on the farm. Think about petroleum.

Store petroleum products above ground at least 12 metres (40 feet) from any other building, in a tank on non-combustible support. In all cases vent pipes not less than three centimetres (1-1/4”) in diameter and cap them with weatherproof hoods.

Petroleum products should be dispensed from storage tanks with appropriate pumping equipment.

And since a farmer’s work is never done, make sure to check that your machinery is clean, in good shape and appropriately stored.

Before installing heating equipment, check product certification and insurance requirements.

Ensure that the pump is on a separate electrical circuit and located away from other buildings, to safeguard the pressure of the water supply for firefighters.

Refuel equipment and internal combustion engines outside, but never while running and only once cool.

Ensure that crop dryers are equipped with adequate controls enabling them to shut off blowers or dampers when temperatures become too high in the heat transfer chamber.

Never use “homemade” dryers.

To stay out of the hot seat this fall, check out more fire prevention tips at http://www. f i p r e c a n . c a / p d f / F PW_ K i t _ English_Final_2010.pdf. And if you’re planning to teach fire safety over the next few months, contact CASA to borrow a digital fire simulator with laser extinguishers. Book it at [email protected] or call 1-877- 452-2272.

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