Fire Safety Tip of the Month – August
Harvest Fire Prevention Tips
Harvest is right around the corner, and with that, we’d like to share some Harvest Fire prevention tips.
It’s always difficult to forecast weather, but if dry field conditions persist, the potential for combine and field fires this fall could be a problem. All it takes is a single high-temperature source in the engine area, or an overheated bearing to ignite dry plant material.
During harvest periods with increased fire potential, fires cause millions of dollars in property damage, including loss of machinery, crops, and time. Injuries to farmworkers are also an unfortunate outcome in some instances.
Modern, high-productivity combines are powerful machines; power means heat. Fire cannot start without heat and fuel. You cannot remove the heat from the engine, hydraulics, and other hard-working systems, but you can remove the fuel source by keeping your combine clean.
- Keep the machine clean, particularly around the engine and engine compartment. Use a high-pressure washer or compressed air to remove caked-on oil, grease, and crop residue.
- Check coolant and oil levels daily.
- Check the pressurized oil supply line to the turbocharger for wear areas that rub and may start an oil leak.
- Frequently blow leaves, chaff and plant material from the engine area with compressed air or a portable leaf blower. Doing this one last time at night is better than in the morning when dew may make it harder to blow residues off.
- Remove plant materials wrapped on or near bearings, belts, or other moving parts.
- Examine exhaust or hot bearing surfaces. Repair leaking fuel or oil hoses, fittings or metal lines immediately.
- Inspect and clean ledges or recessed areas near fuel tanks and lines.
- Before fueling, wait 15 minutes to reduce the risk of a spill volatilizing and igniting.
- In case of fire, call 911.
- Create lists of the 911 addresses for each of your field locations before harvest and have them easily accessible to family and farm employees.
Morden Fire & Rescue has GPS equipment onboard our apparatus to assist in directing us to incidents. When an incident is called in with a 911 address, dispatch can more readily identify the incident location and relay this information to apparatus drivers. Precious time can be saved when the apparatus can dispatch immediately with GPS guidance rather than having to double-check maps and directions.
- A fire can double in size in less than a minute. Embers blown downwind can spread a fire well beyond the control of your fire extinguishers in just seconds. Two ABC-type fire extinguishers are recommended: a smaller 10-pound unit in the cab and a larger 20-pound extinguisher at ground level on the combine.
- Invert and shake the extinguishers once or twice a season to ensure machine vibrations don’t compact the powder inside. A shovel to throw dirt can also help.
Create an emergency plan:
Fires may start from plant materials that have smouldered unnoticed for 15 to 30 minutes or more. The ignition source for field fires may have been the earlier passing of a truck, tractor or combine. Flames aren’t apparent until additional oxygen is supplied, perhaps by a gust of wind. Harvest crews and neighbours may want to discuss a plan for emergency tillage of a fire break should that option become advisable. Keep in mind that personal safety is more important than property loss.
Click on a brochure below to learn more about these important topics!
Hello From Morden Fire & Rescue!
Seems like fall is quickly upon us whether we want it or not.
On the Fire Department, this also sparks (no pun intended) a new season of training and preparedness for members on the department. Besides our regular training night, courses are kicked into high gear, and the majority of our members (35 total) have singed up for a variety of different courses to assist in expanding their knowledge to protect the citizens of our community in the best way possible. This can be time consuming, but the end result is a safe, well trained fire fighter. Thank you for all of the support given over the past year. It is much appreciated among all of the members.
Now, as a fire prevention tip for the fall, remember, if you have a battery operated smoke detector in your home, replace the battery to make sure it is operational. A good time to do this is when we roll the clocks back. Also, fall brings lots of leaves. Your fire pit in the back yard is NOT the spot to get rid of the leaves. Morden is proud to provide a compost program, and leaves are ideal for this purpose. Use the green bins or haul them to the compost site provided to us on the south end of town on Willcocks Road.
Andy Thiessen, Fire Chief
Morden Fire & Rescue