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Farm and ranch fire prevention: How you can avoid costly losses

FEBRUARY 05, 2021

Farmers and ranchers across North Dakota have a difficult job. And with our climate bringing bitter cold temperatures throughout our long winter, having constant and reliable heat for outbuildings is a must. But when you combine a heat source with all of the flammable items on every farm and ranch operation, the risk of a catastrophic fire event becomes significant.

With a little planning and some precautions, you can reduce your risk of a fire at your farm operation.

Smoke Detection

Smoke detectors can save critical time if a fire does start. Tips to keep in mind:

Make sure you check smoke detectors regularly (at least twice a year).

Connect the smoke detectors with a loud, external siren or alarm that will sound so they can be heard if no one is in the barn.

Heat sources

Check the heating system to make sure every furnace and stove is in good repair. See that ducts and air shafts are clean of dust and debris and motors are cleaned and oiled.

Monitor your pulley belts and check gas and fuel oil systems for leaks and unsafe installations. Keep all types of heating devices and other equipment clean and in good condition.

Clear the clutter

Keep barns and yard areas clear of brush and other flammable debris. Move flammable items away from heat sources, and clear away dirt and dust buildup from appliances and equipment to prevent overheating. Also make sure there is not any flammable items or debris near your building’s heating source. These items can quickly escalate what would have maybe only been a small, contained fire.

Let the air flow

Provide adequate ventilation to prevent buildup of chemical vapors, silo gases, and other hazardous byproducts. Proper airflow helps dissipate flammable gas and vapors, preventing heat buildup.

Refuel outside

Refuel equipment outdoors, away from open flames and as far from any buildings as possible. Make sure engines are not running or still hot before refueling. Keep fuel and other combustibles away from livestock in a different building.

Keep extinguishers handy

Portable fire extinguishers should be properly maintained, regularly inspected and easy to find in each building, especially near mechanical equipment and storage areas that contain flammable materials. Train your employees how to properly use extinguishers and where to find them.

Combining preparation along with constant diligence on fire prevention in your operation, you will greatly reduce the possibility of fires, both large and small. It is always a good idea to check with your Nodak Insurance agent to discuss your farm and ranch coverages and other ways to protect your farm and ranch assets.


Nodak Insurance Company

1101 1st Ave N
Fargo, ND 58102