Firefighters have issued fire safety advice to farmers and agricultural contractors as silage season continues.
Carlow Fire brigades have been alerted to several farm machinery fires, which “have resulted in significant damage to farmers and agricultural contractor’s property, in recent days.
On the back of this, Carlow County Fire Service has provided some useful tips to reduce the risk of your tractor or machinery catching fire.
A spokesperson said: “As the silage cutting season is currently underway, Carlow County Fire Service is reminding farmers and agricultural contractors that they should carry a fire extinguisher on all farm machinery where there is potential for a fire to take hold.”
Fire safety advice
- Keep machinery clean and free of combustible materials such as straw and hay, particularly engine compartments where machinery fires often start;
- Ensure certain exhaust systems, including manifolds, mufflers and turbochargers, are free of leaks and in good working order;
- Follow instructions when installing and operating farm machinery. Also, follow maintenance schedules;
- Replace worn electrical components, bearings, belts or chains;
- Keep appropriate fully charged fire extinguishers on tractors, silage harvesters, combines and near all farm machinery;
- Welders and acetylene cutting torches should only be used in clean areas away from any flammable and combustible materials;
- Store vehicles and machinery, which present special hazards, in buildings separate from those used for other purposes.
Think safe, stay safe and be safe
Meanwhile, earlier this week, the Minister of State with special responsibility for Farm Safety, Martin Heydon, urged farmers to plan a safe silage season.
He said: “As we prepare for cutting silage, safety should be our first thought and not an after-thought because every year, farm vehicles and machinery account for over half of all fatal farm incidents.”
“Taking time to plan for the silage season will help to prevent farm safety incidents.”
“It is vital to keep our children safe and away from the silage harvest. Friends, family, visitors, and fellow farmers not involved in silage-making should also stay away from the yard and meadows.
He advises to:
- Firstly, make sure that all machinery is in a good state of repair, fully serviced. Ensure all protective guards are in place;
- Ensure that everyone involved is properly trained and knows their role;
- A safe system of work must be in place and properly communicated to all;
- Ensure that everyone knows the routes the machinery will be taking;
- Also, ensure there is good visibility at the farm entrance and all field entrances that are being used;
- Erect warning signs near entrances to fields and farmyards;
- Ensure that silage pits are in good repair and not overfilled;
- Rolling pits at a height is very dangerous;
- Lastly, if you have excess grass, make baled silage instead.