The risk of fire is very high not only during the summer but winter as well. Thousands of cases of fire in agricultural buildings are reported every year. Many of these buildings are housing livestock. The risk of fire is enough to highlight the importance of livestock insurance in Australia. If you are aware of fire hazards and alert enough, you can prevent these losses. So, in this article, we will cover common fire dangers found in farms. You will also learn how to reduce risks.
Fire Safety Management
Make sure that you have a fire safety strategy for your farm. Having an advance plan can help in dealing with fire emergencies. Your plan should be about:
- Reducing arson threats
- Controlling smoking
- Controlling welding or any other similar hot work
- Maintenance of machinery
- Burning rubbish safely
- Promoting safe work practices in the workshop
- Ensuring safe storage and use of combustible/flammable materials
- Ensuring escape passages free from obstacles
Training your staff will help in the management of things or events that can cause a fire. Staff training should be about:
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- Creating awareness of risks
- Releasing farm animals, raising the alarm, using fire fighting equipment, summoning assistance and other emergency actions to be taken.
- Assigning the responsibility of emergency actions to at least one member who is always there on the farm.
Advice and Guidance
Depending on where you are living in Australia, local authorities have already issued advice and guidelines for avoiding and managing fire hazards. You can meet the local fire prevention officer.
Design Of Buildings
If possible, you can make some alterations in the buildings to have provision for:
- Having easy access to release livestock.
- Quick evacuation without much human assistance required.
- Having one door at each end if the building exceeds 30 metres. In case one escape route is blocked by fire, there is second for occupants to escape.
- Well-maintained gates swing opening easily in either direction. Check regularly to make sure that doors are easy-to-use. There can be times when you have to handle an emergency in the dark.
- Using fire-resistance materials.
- Keeping straw storage far away from livestock accommodation.
Electrical wires and gas supplies should be planned to prevent overheating or flame. Work to minimize the risk of flame. Make sure that fire does not spread to straw, the fabric of the building, litter or equipment. Following are some strong recommendations:
- Main power controls should be outside the building.
- Hire a professional electrician for electrical installation, inspection etc.
- Install protected circuit isolated from the mains supply. Each building should have a separate protected circuit.
- Get waterproofing done for extra safety.
- Protect wiring from damage such as rodent damage.
Having adequate water supply can save time and efforts the fire brigade has to put. Make sure that:
- There is a static water tank near the stock buildings.
- The tank is covered, full of water and easily accessible.
Install a smoke venting system as smoke presents the major hazard and causes most deaths. You can also install heat detectors.
In the end, get proper livestock insurance in Australia.