When getting your combine ready for harvest, have you thought about combine fire prevention? A combine fire extinguisher can put out a small fire before it grows out of control. Let’s review some basics of fire, review the type of fire extinguisher needed and view some combine recommendations:
Fire requires three elements: (understanding the science of fire can help you prevent or extinguish it)
- Oxygen – Fire needs air
2. Fuel – a material to burn (keep combine clean of possible fire- causing materials)
- Ignition Source/Heat – know your heat sources on your combine (exhaust, worn bearings, belts, etc.)
When extinguishing a fire, consider how to best remove one or more sides of the fire triangle.
Fire Extinguishers - ABC dry chemical – are rated for the type of fire they put out:
A – Common combustible solids…..Crop residue
B – Burning liquids and gasses……Fuel, grease, hydraulic fluid
C – Energized electrical equipment….
Check Extinguishers - It is best to have a professional fire extinguisher company inspect your fire extinguishers annually.
Make sure they are U.L. (Underwriters Laboratory) approved.
Having fire extinguishers fully charged is as important as having one. Recharge partially discharged extinguishers by a professional.
Combines - It's recommended to have two 10 pound ABC fire extinguishers on the combine. One in or near the cab of the combine and another that is at ground level. Better yet, keep at 10-pound ABC fire extinguisher in the cab and mount a 20-pound ABC extinguisher that can be accessed from the ground. A 20-lb. extinguisher is an expense, but rather insignificant compared to the value of everything you are protecting.
Training - Many operators have no experience using an ABC fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers discharge in a matter of seconds. Not having any experience could use up precious time, discharge the contents too quickly and be ineffective trying to put the fire out. Having training and experience can make the difference in getting the fire put out before it gets out of control. Remember PASS, which stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.
Call 911 First - It is one thing to want to address the fire immediately, however getting the fire department dispatched as soon as possible is also important. You may not be able to distinguish the combine fire; however, the fire department can help prevent the fire from spreading through your fields, neighboring fields and neighboring properties. Call 911 before beginning to extinguish the fire.
Maintenance & Cleaning - It should go without saying that regular maintenance and keeping the combine clean, especially the engine area is vital. It helps minimize the likelihood of mechanical or electrical failure. Many combine fires occur during the later stages of harvest because of operator fatigue and reduced maintenance. Be vigilant right to the end of harvest.
Personal Safety - If you haven't been near a combine or tractor fire before, take our word that they burn incredibly hot! If you suspect a fire, pull the combine away from the crop, then shut down the engine before you inspect. Be sure to have your cell phone or communication devise, grab the fire extinguisher and get out. Call for help. Make sure everyone understands, a machine can be replaced and is not worth a life. Follow these tips to ensure everyone can Get Home Safe.
Nobody thinks that they'll be "that guy" whose combined burned, lost his crop to fire and watched helplessly as fire spread to neighboring properties. However, it does happen. So, do some quick math on what you are protecting and take measures to mitigate combines fires this fall. You want everyone to Get Home Safe.
Fire extinguishers should be accessible from the ground.