4-H Reducing the Risk of Farm Fires
By: Lauren Gough
Ridgetown 4-H Beef club met recently at Ridgetown Campus University of Guelph. Members listened to a presentation given by Steve Beadle from OMAFRA about things 4-H members can do to practice farm safety and reduce the risks of fire on farms. Since everyone spends time on the farm working with their 4-H animals it is important to be educated on farm fire prevention and the farm fire emergency plan.
Prevention is the most important tool to have. To reduce the risk of fire, inspect all electricity wiring and equipment yearly. Use heat lamps correctly clear of bedding materials that could catch fire. Remove dust, cobwebs, and debris from fan motors that could cause them to overheat. There should be fire separation walls in farm buildings to limit the spread of fire. A fire extinguisher should be placed in each building on the farm. The best place to locate fire extinguishers is near the doorways. They should be easily accessible. Everyone on the farm should be trained to use a fire extinguisher. In the event of a fire, the fire department needs to have full access. All roads and lane ways around farm buildings should be clear to allow fire equipment to fight the fire. Having a pond and hydrant is helpful to draw water in an emergency. Most local fire departments are willing to visit your farm to become familiar with your operation and identify any barriers to access.
The most important thing to do if there is a fire on the farm is to evacuate. All people must exist quickly and safely . At no time are people to go back inside to save farm animals. This was heavily stressed to each 4-H member. A farm fire is an emotional time knowing that your animals are in danger but human life is priority. 4-H members were given checklist to assess their own farm for fire risks. All of the club members were appreciative of the information provided by Steve Beadle given the increased number of farm fires in recent times.
Elections were also held, with the results as follows:
President: Elliot Smith
Vice President: Jacob Sikkema
Secretary: Hannah Sikkema
Press Reporter: Lauren Gough