An Important Piece of Fire Prevention on the Farm

Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

Do you have fire extinguishers located on your farm property?

Fire extinguishers can often be one of those out of sight out of mind tools. Or alternatively, extinguishers can be so frequently passed by that the location no longer registers. Stop and take a mental inventory of where the fire extinguishers on your farm are located. If you come up with a mental void, 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. A fire extinguisher may be able to put a small fire out 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 all during a day’s work on the farm, each of which can contribute to a fire under certain conditions.

The National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division gathered data reflecting during 2006-2010, an estimated 830 structure fires in barns were reported to U.S. fire departments per year, with associated losses of: 1 civilian death, 10 civilian injuries, and
$28 million in property damage annually.

Take the time and steps to establish fire prevention practices on your farm operation, starting with the installation of 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

Find information on “Choosing and using fire extinguishers” at the U.S. Fire Administration webpage, Their resources breakdown to:

  • Explain the types of fire extinguishers
  • Help people decide when to use a fire extinguisher
  • Teach people how to use a fire extinguisher
  • Educate on the importance of fire extinguisher maintenance

The National Fire Protection Association has a list of fire extinguisher safety tips on their public education webpage at

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

The OSU Agricultural Safety & Health website Employee Safety tab is another resource to explore for additional information pertaining to fire extinguishers,

For more information about OSU Ag Safety, visit or contact Lisa Pfeifer, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at or 614-292-9455.