AS farmers start harvesting this summer, there is always the risk of fire from a number of sources and this is especially relevant this year with the very hot weather and dry ground that we have at present.
In order to help and support farmers in Warwickshire, North Warwickshire Rural Crime Co-ordinator Carol Cotterill has been working with local policing teams, Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service and the NFU to produce an advice sheet packed with tips and ideas on how to reduce the risk of fire.
Among the recommendations are making sure that there easy access to farm buildings and other key areas for emergency services vehicles, with the name of the property clearly shown at the road entrance in both directions to aid speedy arrival should a fire or other emergency be reported. It’s also important to ensure all farm staff know where the nearest water supply is to these areas.
With arson always a possibility on farms due to their often isolated locations, open boundaries and readily ignitable hay and straw, advice has also been included from the fire service’s Arson Reduction Team. This includes removing hay and straw from fields as soon as possible and storing it separately from other buildings, particularly those housing fuels, agrochemicals and machinery. Petrol, diesel and other fuels should also be kept in secure areas, within tanks which have padlocked outlets and alarms fitted.
Rural Crime Co-ordinator Carol Cotterill said: “While there is always the possibility of a fire in agricultural premises or on farmland, there are some simple steps that farmers can take to both reduce their risk and also aid emergency services should a fire break out. I’d urge farmers to visit the Rural Watch website and download the info sheet, and then do a quick and simple survey around the farm to identify vulnerable areas and how you can improve them. If you are unsure on any areas speak to your local fire officer who will be happy to help.”
‘Fire and Arson Advice for Farms’ is one of a large number of advice sheets available on the Warwickshire Rural Watch website at www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk, which is funded by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe as part of the Rural Crime Project.
Reducing arson on agricultural property remains a priority for both Warwickshire Police and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service and it is hoped that encouraging farms to take these simple steps will also reduce the likelihood of farms being targeted.