Agricultural and Farm Fire Safety

1. The following, all commonly present on farms, should all be covered with extinguishers in accordance with the recommendations of BS 5306-8.

• All buildings. It is noted that:

This will include most barns. However, barns without walls, eg some UK ‘Dutch Barns’, may not need to be treated as ‘buildings’;

travel distances will be an important determining factor in the calculation of extinguisher cover due to the layout of some buildings, such as chicken barns; and some buildings will have considerable electrical equipment in need of appropriate extinguisher cover.

  • Diesel or other fuel storage tanks. As with any such storage, it should be subject to careful risk assessment and have suitable protective measures such as bundling as required.
  • Areas where class A res may be particularly intense (eg hay storage), which should have increased levels of cover.
  • Any class D flammable metal hazards in engineering work areas with (eg fillings or swarf of iron, aluminium, copper, or zinc) present.
  • All other re hazards whether indoors or outdoors (eg other plant), which should have extinguishers located nearby (and within 30m for Classes A and C, 10m for classes B and F and res involving electrical equipment), eg:Silos – at least one [6/9]kg ABC powder extinguisher. Note: Silos may also present an explosion risk and explosion suppression/inerting systems may be present.
  1. Typically, each vehicle should have at least one 2kg powder extinguisher (eg in or near the cab). Where applicable, they should also have any additional (powder) extinguishers required by the ADR.
    Additionally, it is recognised that equipment and activities related to the vehicle may havea relatively high fire hazard. As such, they should also have any additional re extinguishers determined by risk assessment. Examples may include:

    • Hay bailers – at least one 9L foam extinguisher (mindful of risk of freezing).

    • Combine harvesters – at least one 6kg ABC powder or 9l foam extinguisher (mindful of risk of freezing) (which may supplement a fixed system where fitted).

  2. ABC powder extinguishers will o en be the most suitable choice in outbuildings and outside areas due to a combination of (a) the risk with low temperatures of freezing, and (b) the varied and changeable pattern of use of those areas. However, the following points should be borne in mind:Using powder extinguishers near animals, either inside or outside a building, has the potential to cause respiratory problems.

    Powder extinguishers can be effective against res involving hay or straw, but water-based extinguishers are typically more effective.

    ABC powder is acidic and, as with any other re extinguishing media, its possible reactions with other chemicals that may be present in the farm should be considered.

    Some low temperature additives may be hazardous to certain animals.

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