EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT – Fire Extinguishers on the Farm

Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

Fire extinguishers can often be the difference in saving a life, piece of machinery, or a structure. Take inventory of the number of fire extinguishers and the location on your farm property. If you come up empty, it is time to do something about the safety of your property. Consider placing extinguishers in the shop, barns, equipment cabs and on the baler. When properly maintained and used correctly the safety equipment may be able extinguish a small fire or contain it until help arrives. The farm environment has no shortage of combustible materials and accelerants that can lead to a fire. You might encounter bedding, grain dust, cobwebs, fuels, and chemicals while working on the farm, each of which can contribute to a fire under certain conditions. Good housekeeping practices can eliminate much of the dust accumulation that can fuel fires, so be mindful of the condition in barns and shop spaces.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimated 326 deadly barn fires occurred during 2013-2017.

Take the time and steps to establish fire prevention practices on your farm operation. Start by installing fire extinguishers. For more help deciding what type of fire extinguisher to purchase and how to properly operate the device, take a look at some of the resources listed below.

An Ohio State University Extension fact sheet on fire extinguishers is located on Ohioline at https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/aex-79025.

Find information on “Choosing and using fire extinguishers” at the U.S. Fire Administration webpage, https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/extinguishers.html. There you will find:

  • The types of fire extinguishers explained
  • A checklist for knowing when to use one
  • Instructions for use
  • Maintenance recommendations

The National Fire Protection Association has a list of fire extinguisher safety tips on their public education webpage at https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Fire-and-life-safety-equipment/Fire-extinguishers.

Make your farm a safer place by installing fire extinguishers and training employees how to properly use them.

For more information about OSU Ag Safety, visit https://agsafety.osu.edu/ or contact Lisa Pfeifer, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at pfeifer.6@osu.edu or 614-292-9455