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Fire Safety in Agriculture: Protecting Your Assets and Team with Fireward

In the heart of every agricultural operation, teams of people and machinery work tirelessly to manage the daily tasks that keep farms productive. With the ever increasing emphasis on output, costs and sustainable farming practices, it's crucial to ensure these facilities operate as efficiently but as safely as possible.

Fires in agricultural settings have always been a concern, more so nowadays, particularly given the rising temperatures and extended operational time of heavy machinery as the length of the productive working day is maximized. This blog explores the importance of fire suppression in the agriculture sector, particularly focusing on combine harvesters where there is a high risk of fire and consequential losses as a result.

 

The Growing Risk of Farm Fires 

The number of farm fires increased by 21% last year, resulting in losses of £83.5 million, as reported by NFU Mutual. The unprecedented heatwave saw temperatures hit 40°C for the first time, exacerbating the fire risk. Combine harvester fires doubled, with 258 incidents reported, leading to a 211% increase in fire claims, amounting to £11.1 million. Add on to this fires on telehandlers and bailers, and the figure would be significantly higher. The rise in farm fires highlights the increased need for comprehensive fire prevention plans and the installation of fire suppression systems. 

 

The Importance of Fire Safety In Agriculture 

Farms produce a wide array of by-product and waste during harvest which can very quickly find its way into the machinery, creating a buildup and a potential danger. Take for instance a combine harvester operating at high temperatures, with fans and blowers, hydraulic hoses, flammable liquids,  etc., it’s the last place you want a fire start. 

Hannah Binns, NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist, emphasizes the importance of fire prevention: “Farm fires put lives at risk and cause devastating damage to rural businesses. It is essential for farmers to have fire plans in place.”

In 2022, NFU Mutual dealt with over 2,200 farm fire claims involving equipment, crops and buildings. With summers predicted to become hotter, farmers must be increasingly proactive with regular operating and maintenance procedures with hourly or daily inspections to spot small problems before they become a big problem.

 

Improving Fire Safety On Farms 

NFU Mutual recommends several steps for improving fire safety on farms:

  • Have a Fire Plan: Ensure everyone on site knows what to do in the event of a fire. 
  • Approved Fire Suppression: Fit a suppression system compliant with SPCR 199 and other relevant standards.
  • Regularly clean out dust and chaff from hot spots.
  • Electrical Safety: Avoid tampering with electrics as electrical faults are a major cause of farm fires.
  • Install Fire Suppression Systems: These systems play a critical role in detecting, containing, and extinguishing fires.
  • Good Housekeeping: Proper storage and regular cleaning to eliminate dust and debris.
  • Control Hot Work: Manage activities like welding and cutting to prevent sparks from causing fires. 

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Case Study: Danbury Combine Harvester Fire 

On July 18, 2023, a combine harvester fire in Danbury, Essex, spread to ten acres of crops before being extinguished. This incident underscores the need for effective fire suppression systems and preparedness. Fire crews were praised for their swift response, but the incident highlights the vulnerability of farm equipment during peak harvesting periods.

Customer Testimonial

George Young – Fobbing Farm, Essex: "The idea that your fire will be put out, and you’ve only got a few hours downtime just to clean off the engine and get everything sorted again, with no damaged components, is just superb. The cost of the Fireward system comes in at about 2% of the cost of a new machine, making it a small investment that provides significant peace of mind."

Watch our system in action on a combine harvester:

The Value of Your Investment

The cost of a new combine harvester can be well in excess of £250K and they aren’t just available off the shelf. So, after waiting several months for delivery you need it to be operational as quickly as possible and without interruption. It might not feel like the right time to spend more money, but the cost of fire protection is a very small percent of your total investment, so why not protect your income as well as yourself or operator. Some insurance companies, such as NFU Mutual offer reductions in premiums when approved fire suppression systems are installed, so there has never been a more affordable time to ass fire suppression. 

It's Insured 

When a combine catches fire, so too can the crop, buildings and other assets around it, leading to consequential losses and potential loss of income. There is a mindset that since the equipment is insured, it doesn’t matter if it goes up in flames because the insurance company will pay out but that level of cover comes with a hefty annual premium. With an SPCR 199 approved fire suppression installed, you can still be covered for less and the system can be removed and transferred if the combine is sold on.

Fireward's Specialized Solutions for Agriculture

With over 10,000 installations across the UK, Fireward is a trusted provider of fire suppression systems, protecting the vital assets in the agricultural sector. Our dual-agent systems, combining dry powder and wet chemicals, provide rapid knockdown and prevent reignition. These systems are certified to meet the stringent standards required for high-risk environments.

Why Choose Fireward?

Our plant fire suppression systems offer:

  • 24/7 Fire Protection: Operational year-round with no manual intervention needed.
  • Ultra-Fast Detection and Response: Deploys suppression agents within seconds.
  • 3-Year Warranty: Market-leading full parts & labour warranty.
  • Full Accreditation: Third-party certified systems.
  • Cutting-Edge Technology: Advanced agents and innovative delivery mechanisms.
  • Expert Consultation: Tailored solutions for your specific needs.
  • 24/7 Support and Maintenance: Ensuring optimal functionality.
  • Additional Safety Features: In-cab monitoring, battery isolation, machine shutdown, and manual actuators.

Approved Excellence

Fireward's systems are certified to:

  • P-MARK SPCR 199
  • ActivFire AS 5062:2016
  • P-MARK SPCR 183
  • UNECE Regulation 107
  • UAE.S. 5041:2021
  • SASO 2946:2020

Commitment Beyond Installation 

Choosing Fireward means partnering with a leader dedicated to advancing fire safety in agriculture. Our aftercare service, warranty assurance, and ongoing support ensure your operations remain protected.

Conclusion 

As agricultural operations continue to face an increasing risk of fire, it is crucial to implement comprehensive fire safety measures. Fireward's approved fire suppression system offers unparalleled protection, ensuring the safety of both people and assets. By investing in fire suppression technology, farmers can mitigate the risks of devastating fires and maintain continuous, efficient operations and protect their livelihood and income.

Protecting People and Assets 24/7

To find out more about Fireward’s Automatic Fire Suppression systems, get in touch by calling 0800 151 0249 or email at: sales@fireward.co.uk.


 

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