Any farmer will be aware of the risk of farm fires. Farm fires are probably one of the worst things that can happen to any business, damaging property, destroying crops and feed and, in the worst-case scenario, killing livestock. With the remote and rural nature of farming, fighting fires can be problematic, as we will see.
The risk of farm fires
Farms are particularly high risk when it comes to fires, thanks to the nature of the business. There are many flammable materials around, including fuel, wooden framed buildings, and dry stock, such as hay and straw. There is also machinery and, consequently fuel, held on site. According to research by DEFRA, there are over 1,000 fires in agricultural buildings each year. And that figure doesn’t include fires that occur out in the fields or in hedgerows.
High risk times
There are certain times of the year that farmers should be particularly prepared for the risk of fire, including harvest when there’s an increased risk of dry crops catching fire, and around Bonfire night, thanks to fireworks. Rural crime is another common problem as any farmer knows, and it’s not unusual for criminals to set fire to buildings to cover their tracks.
Problems with fire fighting
Due to their rural location, it can take up to twenty minutes for a fire engine to reach a farm. And if the fire is out in a field or the location requires the vehicle to travel up farm tracks, it takes longer for the emergency services to reach the site of the flames. When a timber framed building, such as a stable, can be completely destroyed by fire in under four minutes, and a closely-stacked straw barn can be well alight within around five minutes, that’s a real problem.
There are other issues too. While fire engines carry water, the capacity is limited to just 1,800 litres of water. That’s enough for two hoses at a pressure of thirty bar to produce water for just seven and a half minutes. Often not long enough to put out a fire. And the remote and rural nature of farming means that there are rarely fire hydrants in the vicinity for firefighters to utilise.
Preparing for a fire emergency
Farmers should always be prepared for the possibility of fire. A comprehensive health and safety assessment should be considered standard practice, although it is a legal requirement where there are more than five staff.
Such a fire risk assessment should include identifying and recording hazards and people at risk; taking action to remove or reduce those risks wherever possible; and putting a plan in place should the worst happen. This should include plans such as where to meet emergency services to guide them onto the property, a comprehensive map of the property, and how livestock would be moved and where to, should the need arise.
On-site water supplies
Another key part of any fire risk plan should be your on-farm water supply. Ensuring that the fire service can access water is vital. This could be from local water courses or ponds, or through stored water. It’s worth knowing that a 6,800 litre water bowser can supply 28 minutes of uninterrupted water through two hose reels, operating at 30 bar, increasing the chances of putting a fire out.
It’s also important to ensure that the bowsers containing the water supply are compatible with the firefighting equipment. Some tank connectors do not work with those of the fire service. This is easily overcome, however, through the purchase of a two-inch braided connector that will fit every fire engine in the UK.
The Enduratank water tank range
Alongside its range of storage tanks, Enduratank produces a range of water bowsers for the safe storage and transport of water. Our onsite towable range is available in fourteen sizes, ranging from 200 litres to 10,000 with various pump options making them an ideal solution for all your firefighting needs.
In addition to our extensive range of bowsers, Enduratank manufactures vertical water tanks and horizontal water tanks in a range of sizes suitable for storing large quantities of water for firefighting and other purposes.
Every one of our tanks, regardless of their purpose, are constructed from a single piece of high-density food grade polyethylene. This one-piece, seam-free design minimises the risk of leakage, and reduces the need for maintenance.
For more information or to talk to one of our sales team, call 01778 562810.