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Reducing the risk of barn fires

Barn fires are devastating. The financial and emotional impacts are huge and can last for years. A series of barn fires in recent years has led to the development of new resources to reduce the risks. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs developed a factsheet, 10 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Barn Fire, created by strategic committee of representatives from multiple sectors, including insurance.

This summary of the top 10 list focuses on best management practices that farmers can easily implement and follow.

  1. Focus on housekeeping – clear clutter and properly store combustible materials
  2. Limit the use of temporary electrical equipment – reduce the extended use of equipment that isn’t hard-wired into the electrical system
  3. Regularly inspect and maintain permanent electrical systems – follow specific Electrical Safety Code requirements for equipment in livestock housing areas and inspect them regularly for damage or corrosion
  4. Perform hot works safely – relocate hot works, like arc welding, using torches and grinding, that can cause sparks to ignite combustible materials or manure gases inside barns
  5. Participate in a risk reduction assessment with insurance or fire departments – conduct an on-farm risk reduction assessment and develop a plan to respond to any recommendations
  6. Prepare and implement a fire safety plan – be prepared by developing a plan for prevention and response in the event of a fire
  7. Regularly inspect and maintain fire walls, fire separations and attic fire stops – slow down the spread of a fire by maintaining these important structures
  8. Regularly maintain heaters – inspect temporary heaters to ensure safe operation and eliminate the presence of combustible materials, like bedding and dust
  9. Store and maintain motorized equipment away from livestock – reduce additional sources of ignition caused from excess heat from tractors and electrical or mechanical failures
  10. Store combustibles in a designated location away from livestock – isolate materials like straw or fuels in separate areas

Want to learn more about farm insurance coverage? Contact one of our agents at Usborne & Hibbert Mutual today.