Farm Fire Safety

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has recently seen an increase in the number of fires on farms, a number of these involving hay/straw. Ensure your farm has clear signage which isn't obstructed by overgrown hedges, so in the event of a fire there isn't a delay.

Don't let your farm become a statistic!

Each year in the UK on average around 1,600 farm buildings and 85,000 areas of grassland are destroyed by fire. Around 40% of these fires are started deliberately, many as an act of mindless vandalism.

A serious fire on a farm can affect the financial stability of even the most well run business. It is estimated that up to 80% of businesses are seriously affected following a major fire*.

News - Farm Safety

Take a look at the following newsletter, which contains fire safety news and arson reduction advice for farms:

Fire Safety News (new window, PDF 1658KB)

What you are required to do by law

Fire safety legislation applies to all farm buildings where people work, including packing sheds, milking parlours, barns, holiday lets and farm houses used for providing bed and breakfast.

If you employ five or more people, you are required by law to carry out a fire risk assessment of your farm buildings and record the findings.

Fire safety is your responsibility, and if you don't obey the law you could lose your business or be prosecuted and face a fine or two year prison sentence.

Find out more about the Fire Risk Assessment

Accidental causes of farm fires

Fire can start in many ways and farms have all of the ingredients generally for fire to occur. Many such fires are accidental for example as the result of faulty or poor electrical wiring or equipment.

Accidental fires can occur when working such as via hot works taking place (welding/grinding). These should take place away from combustibles such as hay storage.

In addition farms are sometimes vulnerable from other accidental causes of fire such as a lighted
cigarette butt thrown from a passing vehicle which can mean the loss of whole fields of standing crops, whilst glass bottles left lying around in grass or woodlands can cause fires of huge proportions during the warm dry weather as a result of the sun's rays being concentrated and focused by the glass.

Many farms now offer a diverse range of services including bed and breakfast accommodation,
farm shops, visitor's centres, mazes and stabling to name a few.

These activities all pose differing fire risks and should be risk assessed to ensure preventative and protective measures are suitable and sufficient.

Arson and vandalism on farms

40% of farm fires are started deliberately, either as an act of mindless vandalism or arson. This is often due to due to their isolated location, open boundaries and ready fuels (such as readily ignitable hay or straw). 

Whilst arson attacks on farms and small holdings may be difficult to eliminate, a number of simple precautions can substantially reduce the risk of attack:

Reduce your chance of arson - fire safety tips

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* London Chamber of Commerce statistics 2003

Last updated: Thursday 25 November 2021