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Farm fire safety

Each year in the UK, around 1,600 farm buildings and 85,000 grassland areas are destroyed by fire. Around 40% of these are deliberate acts of vandalism. A serious fire on a farm can affect the financial stability of even the most well-run business.

Our Health & Safety colleagues recently attended an event on farm fire safety. This is what they learnt.

Mitigating risk

Risk Assessment: It is now a legal requirement for any business, no matter the size, to have a documented fire risk assessment.

Access: Make sure you have suitable access and egress to all areas of your farm in the event of a fire. Fire regulations require that no point in a building is more than 60 metres from a fire exit. For premises at high risk, this is 25 metres.

Water: If there isn’t a convenient hydrant, inform the Fire Service of any ponds or lakes near your building.  Think about installing a water storage system. Rainwater collection systems can be coupled – speak to your sprinkler company. Ideally, you’d want at least 45,000 litres stored.

You can help the Fire Service by offering ‘clean down’ facilities with fresh water for soiled or contaminated fire service equipment and protective clothing. Refreshments are always appreciated, too!

Storage of chemicals: What have you got stored, where, and in what quantities? A farm site plan and COSHH register would help.

Animal Rescue

  • Call the Fire Service as soon as you notice an animal is stuck.
  • Do not risk your own safety.
  • The Fire Service do not charge a fee, but an attending vet might.
  • Use What3Words to identify your location and any access points.
  • Have equipment on hand to help the Fire Service.

Be scam aware!

Across the UK, criminal gangs have been targeting farmers and contractors.

Be diligent if someone offers you cash to store equipment or bales on your land. As a land owner, you will be responsible for any controlled waste on your land.

If you need support, just ask!

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) supports the farming community across England and Wales. You can get support if you currently work in agriculture or are no longer working due to illness, injury, disability, or age. If you or someone you know might benefit from their support, please call them on their confidential freephone helpline 0800 188 4444.

The Farming Community Network (FCN) also provide practical and pastoral support to the farming community. For a sympathetic, understanding, ear you can contact the FCN on 03000 111 999.

For more information about this article or any other aspect of agriculture and rural affairs, contact your Napthens Solicitors in Preston ///drew.magma.lofts, Kendal ///retire.decide.lost, and across the North West today.

Trailer on a farm