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.

What to do in case of a fire

A Fire Survival Guide

Every year the fire brigade is called out to over 60,000 fires in the home. And every year around 500 people die in these fires and over 10,000 are injured. If a fire occurs in your home, your chances of survival will depend on how quickly and safely you are able to get out. This advice on how to protect yourself should one occur.

Planning your escape route

If a fire occurs in your home you may have to get out in dark and difficult conditions. Escaping from a fire will be a lot easier if you have already planned your escape route and know where to go. Make sure that your planned escape route remains free of any obstructions and that there are no loose floor coverings that could trip you. Everyone in the house should be made aware of the escape route.
If you have serious mobility difficulties you may wish to consider having your bedroom on the ground floor, if this is practical, and as near as possible to an exit. If you need assistance to make your escape, it is vital that you have some means of summoning help by your bed, such as a buzzer, intercom or telephone.
There are also systems available which will automatically dial out on your telephone line to summon help or send a signal to a manned control room. Details of the many emergency call/alarm systems available can be obtained from the Disabled Living Foundation who produce a booklet on the subject.

What to do if a fire breaks out

We all try to prevent fire starting in our home. But it only takes an unguarded or careless moment for a fire to start. A couple of minutes later and your home could be filled with smoke. Smoke and fumes can kill – particularly the highly poisonous smoke from some furnishings. You will only have a short time to get out. Use it wisely and try not to panic.
If you can safely do so, close the door of the room where the fire has started and close all other doors behind you. This will help delay the spread of smoke.
Before opening a closed door, use the back of your hand to touch it. Don’t open it if it feels warm – the fire may be on the other side.
Get everyone out as quickly as possible. Don’t try to pick up valuables or possessions. Make your way out as safely as possible and try not to panic.
Never go back into your home until a fire officer has told you it is safe.
It will help if you have planned your escape route rather than waiting until there is a fire. Telephone the fire brigade on 999 from a neighbours house or a telephone box. Clearly state the address of the fire.
What to do if you’re cut off by fire
It’s not easy, but try to remain calm. Save your energy to help you survive
If you are prevented from getting out because of flames or smoke, close the door nearest to the fire and use towels or sheets to block any gaps. This will help stop smoke spreading into the room.
Go to the window. If the room becomes smoky, go down to floor level – it’s easier to breathe because the smoke will rise upwards.
Open the window, try to attract the attention of others who can alert the fire brigade. Wait for the fire brigade, they should arrive in a matter of minutes.
If you are in immediate danger and your room is not too high from the ground, drop cushions or bedding to the ground below to break your fall from the window.
Get out feet first and lower yourself to the full length of your arms before dropping.

Bedtime Routine

Many fires in the home start at night. Make sure you have a bedtime fire safety routine to help keep you and your family safe. Here are a few simple things you should do every night:
Switch off and unplug all electrical appliances not designed to stay on. (There are specially designed plugs available which can be very easily inserted and removed. Details of these devices are available from the Disabled Living Foundation.
Make sure no cigarettes or pipes are still burning. Never smoke in bed.
Before emptying ashtrays make sure the contents are cold.
Switch off portable heaters.
Close the doors of all rooms.

Fire Door Safety

Fire safety people insist that fire doors are kept closed, In the event of a fire, your specially designed, expertly fitted fire doors have the important job of preventing the spread of fire. It doesn’t surprise me that some fire safety people go into full-on meltdown if they are left open.

Part of the reason for this is that people use some pretty unsavoury things to hold fire doors open; wooden wedges, wastepaper bins, chairs, bits of folded over cardboard, even fire extinguishers. There will always be a need or desire for fire doors to be held open. The problem here is that all these things prevent doors from closing in an emergency, and wedging fire doors can have serious implications.

There are many benefits to keeping fire doors open and there are some very cost effective and easy to fit LEGAL devices do this. More importantly, they automatically close the door when there is a fire. For the last few decades, hardwired devices have been favourable and more recently, with significant improvements in digital signal processing, wireless products, such as Dorgard Pro and Freedor, offer solutions that are much quicker, cleaner and safer to install.

Fire Risk Assessment Guide

Step 1 – Hazards

Identify the hazards within your premises including: sources of igniton, sources of fuel and any oxidising agents other than air.

Step 2 – Who is at risk?

Identify people at risk. You must consider everyone who might be at risk from a fire on your premises, whether they are employees, visitors or members of the public.

You should pay particular attention to people who may be at  particular risk such as: people working near to fire hazards, lone workers, children, parents with babies, the elderly, the infirm and people with disabilites, or anyone who may need special help.

Step 3 – Evaluate the level of risk

You should remove or reduce re hazards where possible. The residual risk should be minimised.

You need to look at:

Means of detecting fire and giving warning

  • Fire fighting including first aid and summoning the Fire and Rescue Service

  • Escape routes including fire exits, emergency lighting and escape route signs

  • Training for your staff

• Information on fire safety for anyone who may need it     (eg staff and visitors)

• A management system to make sure that your fire precautions, including your risk assessment, remain effective

Step 4 – Record, plan, instruct, inform and train

You should:

Record the findings from the fire risk assessment, as well as the fire safety measures you have taken and are going to take

• If you haven’t already got one, make an emergency plan, tailored to your premises

• Give staff , and occasionally others, such as hotel guests or volunteer stewards, information

• Provide employees* training about the risks, the actions they should take to prevent fires and how to respond to fire if it occurs. Some, such as fire marshals, will need more training
*This includes full time, part time, temporary and unpaid employees

Step 5 – Review your re-risk assessment to ensure it is up to date
You will need to re-examine your fire-risk assessment if you suspect it is no longer valid, such as after a near miss, or if there is a significant change such as a change of processes, occupants, or the layout of the building.

Common Causes of Fire & Business Fire Safety

1. Electricity

Neglect and misuse of wiring and electrical appliances

2. Refuse/rubbish

Accumulating in work/storage areas

3. Smoking

Discarded cigarettes, matches, inadequate ashtrays.

4. Heaters

Portable heaters can be knocked over, poorly sited or inadequately  guarded. All heaters could overheat if obstructed.

5. Hazardous goods

Includes materials such as paints, adhesives or other chemicals.

6. Arson

By mischievous children and adult fire raisers, facilitated by ineffectively secured buildings.

7. Specific hazards

Machinery in dusty environments, heated equipment (e.g. soldering irons), blow lamps, cutting and welding equipment, flammable liquids.

Common causes of False Fire Alarms

The most common causes of false fire alarms are:

Cooking fumes, such as burnt toast and the build-up of fat and grease deposits in ovens and grills.

• Steam from showers and bathroom areas and kitchen cleaning appliances.

• Smoking materials, including smoke entering open windows from outside building.

• Aerosol sprays, such as hairspray, deodorant and insect repellent.

• Hot work, from welding and cutting.

• Dust build up, from poor housekeeping.

• Incense and candles.

• Humidity and sudden temperature change, e.g. opening an oven door.

• Accidental or deliberate damage to break glass call points.

• Testing or maintenance, without informing your alarm centre or incorrect testing procedure.

• Changes to the use or practices within the building.


Are you Compliant or have you had a letter like this, if so contact us we can help

Your Local Fire Station



Dear Sir,


With reference to the fire safety audit of your premises on whatever date, I would confirm that the outcome was considered unsatisfactory.

The measures contained in the attached Notification of Fire Safety Deficiencies ( or other equally effective measures) if carried out will ensure compliance with the above legislation

You should note that failure to comply with any requirement of the legislation is an offence and the person responsible is liable to prosecution. This letter and attached schedule are issued without prejudice to any legal action etc……

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

As with any industry, there are companies that will take advantage of your lack of knowledge of the finer details. And the fire extinguisher trade has their fair share. But, there are plenty of reputable firms to pick from.

There are, in essence, three levels of maintenance companies:

The cowboys – their main service tools are a duster and a pen. You may be amazed at how many service engineers have never been trained or been on a refresher course. More often than not, their price would be the lowest for the basic service cost but this prevents them doing the job properly as they cannot earn any money by being thorough

The commission earners – the biggest source of complaints – many service companies pay commission for all parts and tests along with commission for selling new or replacement equipment. They then add daily or monthly monetary targets and daily units serviced to be reached. This will add up to high invoices year after year. They may use extra pressure to get the order done and dusted on the spot, such as “what if a Fire Officer visited you tomorrow? He could close you down” Does this sound familiar to you?

The genuine service company – who just do exactly what is required and they do it well.

  1. Don’t assume that large well known companies are the best as the technicians often have targets to meet
  2. Use a local company M R Fire Protection
  3. Only use a engineers that are properly trained
  4. Only use companies that are fire extinguisher specialists – avoid general maintenance companies
  5. Insist that the technician gives advance notice of the service visit and that he gets an official signature from your management at the end
  6. Never, ever enter into any agreement that is longer than 12 months and that needs anything more than a months notice

7.  If your maintenance company is not playing ball and your invoices seem to be consistently high, change to another company.

Fire Risk Assessment

Fire Risk Assessment

First and foremost it is the law, undertaking a fire risk assessment is a legal requirement.

It is a positive step and should be looked upon as such.
Not only will it ensure that the responsible person is able to comply with the fire safety order and give peace of mind that you are doing what is required to protect those in your premises, it will also help ensure business continuity should a fire occur.

It is a fact that 70% of all businesses that suffer a significant fire do not recover, and by identifying risks within your premises, you are protecting your business in addition to your employees.

It is thought that over half of all business do not have a current fire risk assessment in place.

If the worst should happen, what do you think the first thing your insurance company will ask for? That’s right a copy of your current fire risk assessment.

Do not give your insurance company any reason to refuse a claim.
Be compliant, contact M R Fire Protection