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Fire risks on farms

Fires at agricultural businesses present many challenges – the location is often remote, which means it will take a little longer for fire crews to arrive.

Straw/hay is very flammable, and there are often pieces of machinery and other items which carry a fire risk. Isolated premises are often targeted by arsonists, and water supplies can sometime be limited.

By reviewing your business, you can reduce your risk of fire. There are things you have to do by law, and there are extra things that will make it easier for firefighters to try and save your property.

To comply with the law

What you can do to help the fire service

Livestock evacuation

It is too late to plan for evacuating your livestock when a fire starts. You must consider how your livestock can be removed from a building, remembering that conditions may be dark, smoky, hot and noisy.

Firefighting measures

You must dial 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service as quickly as possible if a fire starts. However, it is important that you have some way of extinguishing a small fire if you are trained and it is safe to do so.

Part of your risk assessment will take account of how to prepare when carrying out welding, grinding or cutting, for instance. Creating a clean surface to work on, away from flammable materials and with the right safety measures in place, will hopefully prevent a problem. But if a spark causes a small fire, having a fire extinguisher or hose laid out ready will enable you to extinguish or slow the fire enough to save your property or protect yourself and animals.

Different materials will require a different type of fire extinguisher; for example, you shouldn’t use water on an electrical fire because you will be electrocuted. The firefighting device must also be positioned somewhere easily accessible, not hidden at the back of the shed or in the loft.

Staff training

Accommodation other than your private domestic dwelling

You are responsible for fire safety under the law if you:

In these circumstances, you should seek further advice as you will need to ensure adequate ways of detecting a fire, alerting people, providing emergency lighting, signs and escape routes.

See also guidance on:

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