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Kawartha Lakes issues Farm Fire Safety Checklist

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February 5, 2016 - The City’s Fire and Rescue Service has issued a fire safety checklist to assist farmers and others involved in the agri-business in reducing the risk of fire occurring on their properties. It will also help to ensure that everyone knows what to do in event of fire.
  • Prominently post the fire department number (or 911) at each phone.
  • Post concise and clear directions to your property at each phone.
  • Make sure your neighbors know your address and any important information regarding your farm.

Keeping a clean, clear space around buildings and in general yard areas can help reduce the risk of flame spreading from one building to another.

  • Remove combustible materials (general storage/new or salvaged building materials) from around buildings.
  • Remove brush, weeds, and tall grass from around buildings.

Ensuring firefighters can access all areas of your property and can gain access to all buildings will avoid costly delays once they arrive.

  • Provide and maintain a clear unobstructed laneway or yard area to each building.

Park farm equipment and machinery in the barn or equipment shed, if possible.

  • Provide gateways through fences with a clear width of at least 3.5 metres for fire department vehicles and apparatus.
  • Provide clear access to water supplies that may be required for firefighting (ie., wells, cisterns, ponds, streams, etc.).
  • Maintain wells and pumps used for water supply.

Following safety precautions is important when handling hazardous products. Ensure all hazardous products are clearly labelled to further eliminate guesswork in an emergency situation.

  • Store hazardous products according to manufacturer’s recommendations and applicable regulations.
  • Mix fertilizers and chemicals carefully in well ventilated areas. Have materials on- hand to clean up spills immediately.
  • Protect cylinders containing compressed gases from mechanical damage to the valve and the cylinders.
  • Perform welding and cutting operations only in areas that are free of combustible materials. Protect adjacent areas by maintaining clearance from combustible materials or by using non-combustible shielding.

Understanding how to prevent fires from starting is essential in protecting your farm or agri-business from loss. Control potential ignition sources.

  • Strictly enforce a ‘NO SMOKING’ policy in and around all farm buildings. Post ‘NO SMOKING’ signs in prominent places where they can be easily seen.
  • Keep engines, motors and machinery well maintained to prevent malfunction and overheating.
  • Re-fuel equipment outdoors.
  • Make sure equipment is turned off and cooled before re-fuelling.
  • Maintain adequate clearance to combustibles around heaters.

Reduce the risk of fire loss by developing fire protection measures to extinguish or control a fire until firefighters can arrive.

  • Install fire extinguishers in your barn, toolshed, and other farm buildings.
  • Install multi-purpose fire extinguishers on tractors, combines, and other mechanical equipment and machinery.
  • Make sure family members and employees know where extinguishers are located and know how to use them.
  • Maintain your extinguishers by inspecting them regularly and recharge when necessary. If you have water type fire extinguishers, protect them from freezing.

Electricity can provide a dangerous supply of hazards that can hinder operations and ultimately start a fire.

  • Use stall fans, space heaters, lights, and radios only when someone is in the barn.
  • Use only listed electrical appliances and equipment.
  • Disconnect or unplug electrical and appliances when not in use.
  • Enclose exposed wiring in barns and tool sheds in conduit to protect against exposure to weather, animals, and mechanical damage.
  • Ensure electrical repairs and installations are performed by qualified electricians.

Protect your buildings with lightning rods and grounding cables to prevent property damage.

  • Ensure lightning rods, grounding cables and system components are approved, certified and installed in accordance with regulations.
  • Check grounding cables frequently and repair if worn or damaged.
  • Ensure that work is performed by properly licensed installers whenever work is required on lightning rods or grounding cables as a result of changes to the building or re-roofing.

Develop a fire safety plan for your farm or agri-business to reduce fire loss.

  • Identify exits and possible evacuation routes from all areas of the barns and farm buildings. Ensure family members and employees are familiar with these routes.
  • Make necessary arrangements to house livestock in the event they need to be evacuated from the barn in a fire. If you don’t have a suitable area on the farm to contain and control your animals you may have to make arrangements with the neighbors.
  • Maintain an identification list of all animals including medical info they may require and any physical characteristics
  • Review the plan as necessary to update changes in the building, livestock or employees.

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