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July 28, 2011

Fires on the farm

Fire is a scary thing, its deadly force can destroy barns, buildings and crops in a matter of minutes, and the risk is made all the worse on the farm due to the nature of farm work and the rural setting of farms that can often put them far away from help.

The best way to ensure these fires do not happen is via prevention, there are many things that farmers can do to help reduce the risk of fires, just a few points are;

  • Using fire retardant or metal roofing on buildings.
  • Clearing away brush, pine needles and flammables to create a fire guard around buildings and equipment.
  • Performing open burning in suitable areas, preferably in an approved container with spark arrestor, and providing protection in case of runaways.
  • Not smoking in or near barns and grain/produce storage areas.
  • Not fueling hot or running engines and storing fuel outside in an approved container.
  • Keep a source of water available, ponds and wells should be accessible, and if pumping is required, a back up energy source should be available in case of power loss.

Having a system in place for attacking spot fires when they break out is a way to potentially save countless dollars in damage to your property, often by the time professional help arrives on scene the fire has grown to a large and hard to manage size, when it could have been put out with something as small as a bucket of water at its initiation, or controlled with a simple portable pump and water barrel.

they key factors to having an effective system are:

  • It must be available, something that is placed in a location where you can get to it without much trouble, it should not be blocked in at the back of the barn. you must be able to “grab and go”.
  • it must have a fast set up time. Time is crucial in initial attack, every second counts.
  • it must be easy to operate. The person who builds and installs the system may not be the one who is going to have to use it when the time comes and even if it is, there’s no need to be fumbling with a complicated mechanism when there’s no time to lose.
  • it must be capable of operating for a period of time long enough to make a significant impact.

Last spring, Munckhof Manufacturing introduced a new initial attack fire fighting machine to the market, we decided to go with a high pressure, low volume type because it is specifically designed to conserve water while being powerful enough to penetrate into the base of fire and deposit water where it is needed. The high pressure stream also serves a secondary purpose, it is powerful enough to move debris and flammable material, effectively creating fire guard.The panel design and layout make it simple to use and it can be hung from its hitching points for an easy and quick drop into a pickup.

The machine also features other handy standard options such as a remote powered reel return, suction draft, emergency stop, axillary out, and battery cut off switch. To find out more click here

But most of all be safe! Our summer is starting to heat up, and major tragedies are easily preventable with just a little preparedness and forethought.