7 tips to help prevent fires around farm machinery

Last week in the Bansha area of Co. Tipperary local fire services were called out to a fire involving a tractor and trailer carrying 30 hay bales. The fire happened Tuesday afternoon and caused the road to be closed for several hours by the Gardaí. The summer months always prove the busiest time of year for farmers with work involving machinery increasing significantly.

Here are some useful tips to reduce the risk of your tractor or machinery catching fire.

. Keep machinery clean and free of combustible materials, particularly engine compartments where machinery fires often start.

. Make certain exhaust systems including manifolds, mufflers and turbochargers, are free of leaks and in good working order.

. Follow instructions when installing and operating farm machinery and follow maintenance schedules.

. Replace worn electrical components, bearings, belts or chains.

. Keep appropriate fully charged fire extinguishers on tractors, combines, and near all farm machinery.

. Welders and cutting torches should only be used in clean areas at least 35 feet away from any flammable and combustible materials. Welding curtains should be used.

. Store vehicles and machinery, which present special hazards, in buildings separate from those used for other purposes. 

The safest way to deal with fire is to prevent it according to the Health and Safety Authority.

Fire Extinguishers: Do you know how to work yours?

Many farmers own small fire extinguishers in case of an emergency, and if you don’t it is highly advisable that you do, but how many of us would be able to use them without first reading the instructions?

Remember the phrase P-A-S-S if you attempt to put out a small fire with an extinguisher.

P is for pull the pin of the extinguisher (or with some units, Press the puncture lever or release the lock hatch);

A is for aim low or point the unit’s nozzle at the base of the fire;

S is for squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent;

and S is for sweep from side to side. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until it appears to be out.

Never turn your back on a small fire, even if it looks as if it is out. Be prepared in case it flashes again.

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