Chief’s Corner

helmets of experience

Rural communities face unique fire risks.

The distance between communities and between residents within those communities results in challenges related to fire. Fire death rates in rural areas are very high. Additionally, loss of property and livestock have an extreme emotional and economic impact on residents in the local area.

Common fire problems in rural areas

Heating is a common cause of residential structure fires and deaths.
Fixed heaters, including wood stoves, are involved in most rural residential heating fires.
Damaged electrical equipment is often the source of fire in barns and other farm buildings.
Many homes do not have working smoke alarms increasing risk of death in a fire.

Fire safety is an important part of farm life. People, animals, and property are in danger when fire breaks out on the farm. Inspect your barn and outbuildings for fire hazards to reduce the risk of tragic loss.

• Heat lamps and space heaters are kept a safe distance from anything that can burn.
• Heaters are on a sturdy surface and cannot fall over.

• Electrical equipment is labeled for agricultural or commercial use.
• All wiring is free from damage.
• Extension cords are not used in the barn.
• Light bulbs have covers to protect them from dust, moisture, and breakage.
• Damage is identified quickly and repairs are completed with safety in mind.
• Dust and cobwebs around electrical outlets and lights are removed.
• Oily rags are stored in a closed, metal container away from heat.
• Feed, hay, straw, and flammable liquids are stored away from the main barn.
• The barn is a smoke-free zone.
• Exits are clearly marked and pathways are clear.
• Fire drills are held frequently with everyone who uses the barn.
• Workers are trained to use fire extinguishers.
• Everyone in the barn knows personal safety is the first priority if a fire breaks out.