Tips for Preventing Grain Dryer Fires on Irish Farms
Huge Tractors, Giant Combines and Flashing Beacons can mean only one thing, its that time of year again, late summer when Irish Farmers set about harvesting their summer crops and transporting them to bulk storage in preparation for drying.
Grain dryer fires are one of the most significant risks a grain handling operation can face. The devastating results of a fire can include death, serious injury, financial loss, property damage, business interruption and production downtime.
ICS deal with a number of these type of agricultural fires every year, and we’ve become very knowledgeable about the circumstances that give rise to and increase the risk of a fire breaking out in the first instance.
We’ve put together a few simple tips that can help reduce the risk of fire to your Grain Dryer;
- Get your drying equipment regularly serviced by a competent engineer/Supplier.
- Check thermostats, temperature settings and automatic shut-off devices, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- All surfaces on which dust, grain or other materials can collect should be cleaned out regularly- Records should be maintained, and checklists should be followed.
- Keep the area around the dryer clear of grain and other combustible material.
- Keep the airflow to the furnace free from dust, chaff and straw.
- Don’t leave plant running unattended for extended periods.
- ‘No smoking’ rules must be strictly enforced.
- Allow the dried grain to cool to ambient temperature prior to any further processing or storage – this will reduce the chance of self-heating.
- Make sure that staff know how to isolate equipment and what to do in the event of a fire- Correct training
- Suitable fire extinguishers should be available to fight any fire (Class B rated for oil-fired furnaces and CO2 for electrical equipment).
- Have the address, postcode and grid reference of the grain dryer location to hand, in case you need to call emergency services.
- Make a farm emergency plan to assist the emergency services – list the hazards, water supplies and access details.