Prevent Fire during Harvest

The theme of Fire Prevention Week, October 8 to 14, is Every Second Counts. This is true for any fire, but especially meaningful in farm fields where ideal harvest conditions are also ideal fire conditions. It can take as little as a hot exhaust pipe or a spark from metal against rock to ignite a tinder-dry field, where the nearest fire department may be miles away.

Limit the risk of fire by checking bearings and drives for appropriate lubrication and tension. Stop during the day and take a walk around your machinery. Look, listen and smell for signs of trouble and remove accumulations of chaff and dust near heat sources. Some farmers even insist that only vehicles essential to the harvest are allowed on crop land. ATVs and trucks are parked at the edge of the field.

It is well worth the time to have a look at the Alberta Agriculture’s information page Fire Extinguishers on the Farm. There is specific advice about the type and size of fire extinguishers for combines, tractors, balers and other vehicles. For example, the recommendation for a combine is a 10 pound dry chemical, multi-purpose extinguisher and a 2.5 gallon pressurized water extinguisher. Everyone in the field should know where the extinguishers are located and how to use them. Keep a shovel handy and remember to take your cell phone with you.  

If a fire does break out, Every Second Counts. The first action is always to get everyone out of danger. Only attempt to fight small fires and call 911 for assistance. Know the land location where you are working and be able to give quick directions over the phone.

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