Avoiding baler fires

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Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Tips to prevent one of the biggest hazards when baling hay and straw this season.

“An ounce of prevention can go a long way to preventing baler fires,” says Raelyn Peterson, farm safety coordinator with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “Baler fires can happen quickly and cause a lot of damage.

She notes that SDSU Extension has a good maintenance checklist for preventing unwanted baler fires and has some tips to reduce this hazard:

  • routinely remove plant material – leaves, stems, dust – that has built up on the baler
  • carry a fully charged and not expired “ABC” fire extinguisher on the baler or in the tractor all the time
  • carry a shovel to use to throw dirt on a fire or extinguish hot spots
  • clean hydraulic fluid build-up and grease from the baler, as it attracts and holds highly ignitable dust
  • carry a cell phone or use another communication method in case of an emergency
  • be able to give clear directions to your location for emergency crews
  • carry 10 to 15 litres of water to use in case a fire should start
  • repair hydraulic or fuel leaks immediately and adequately clean up spills

“Finally,” she adds, “have regular communication with someone who knows your location in the event of an emergency. Stay connected with your neighbours and check in with each other. Prevention goes a long way during this busy time of the year.”

Contact

Connect with the Alberta Farm Safety Program:
Toll free: 310-FARM (3276)
Email: farm.safety@gov.ab.ca

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