Fire can break out at any time anywhere. It may be due to natural reasons and sometimes, due to the carelessness of humans. It is essential to have safety measures for fire everywhere.
A few measures like installing a safety alarm, having a fire extinguisher, and an escape plan are great for houses and building apartments. But how about a farm? How to protect it from the fire? And what measures should be taken to protect your farm in case a fire breaks out? We will try to explain all these questions and the technicalities of fire protection engineering and how it works in this article.
What is fire protection engineering?
Fire protection engineering also known as fire safety engineering in the US works on those principles of science and technology that protects the environment, buildings, people and their properties from the chaotic and destructive effects of fire.
The engineering pays special attention to how to make the environment disoriented during the fire break out. It includes different techniques to protect everything like using fire suppressions systems, smoke barriers etc. It is not limited to the evacuation of a fire. Fire protection engineering also focuses on fire detection systems and suppression using different techniques.
The other important aspects on which fire protection engineering focuses on are:
Fire prevention techniques in which buildings and other structures are created, with such layout and space planning that prevents fire break out.
Establishing escaping structures like lifts, exits, etc.
Active and passive fire protection
Fire detection systems; like fire alarms, and brigade calling systems.
Evaluating human behaviour during fire break out and tricks to calm the situation
Risk analysis, fire modeling, and fire dynamics.
Behind every form of fire safety and prevention is an engineer, from sprinkler systems and search-and-rescue devices, to fire prevention systems and the special uniforms firefighters wear. Innovative engineering solutions drive fire protection technology. Fire protection researchers evaluate the fire fulfillment of materials of products and systems.
Researchers conduct tests for a wide range of purposes including material flammability investigation support, product research and development as well as to measure the performance of sprinklers. Automatic sprinkler systems are an important tool in combating fires.
The technology behind sprinkler systems has evolved significantly, and fire protection engineering has kept pace. FM Global, a leader in insurance and fire protection helps ensure that the sprinkler system components undergo rigorous testing for conformance with a variety of installation and approval standards.
Why is it important to protect farms from a fire?
A farm is a place with many organic materials, these organic materials generate gases that can be a cause of fire break out on your farm. It is important to keep a special check on what is going on on your farm. Several activities like smoking and uncovered electricity equipment increase the chance of fire break out in your farm.
Once a fire breaks out in your farm, you can suffer from a great loss. You might lose livestock in case of poultry farm, your property, crops in case of crop farm. This loss will result in your downtime, which God knows how elongated this period could be.
In order to prevent yourself from such devastating situations, it is important to have fire preventive measures on your farm. This is where fire protection engineering set foot in. Using modern scientific and technological techniques, you can prevent your farm from great defacement.
Fire preventive measures for your farm
Besides proper engineering techniques to prevent your farm from fire, you should also pay heed to some significant safety measures. Some of them are:
In case of a packed livestock farm, make sure the building is properly ventilated. There should be enough windows and a passage for airflow. The formation of byproducts like hazardous vapors can be the cause of fire breakout. It is, therefore, necessary to have a proper ventilation system so that these byproducts will pass out with the airflow.
Place fuel outside:
Make sure to keep the fuel and other combustible materials outside the farm. Another important thing to consider is to refuel the engines and motors outside the farm. Fueling and other flammable materials should be placed way too far from the farm.
Keep fire extinguishers:
It is important to keep a fire extinguisher on the farm. They are important in combating small fires. Not only in the farm, keep one in the car, in the building, in the storage areas especially near electrical equipment. The employees on your farm should be well aware of how to use them.
Never permit smoking
Make sure your farm is entirely smoke-free. There should be no one smoking inside or outside the farm. Never allow smoking close to flammable materials and even storage areas. The potting soil is quick in catching fire when dry.
In the case of field burning, make sure you are far from places with electrical equipment and combustible materials. Be sure to have proper safety precautions and permission from the fire department. Also, you should make sure not to burn anything on windy days. The chance of fire spread is higher on such windy days. Be sure to keep fire fighting equipment and water nearby in case of an emergency.
Inspection of electrical equipment
Keep a proper check on electrical wires. Make sure they are properly enclosed in PVC pipes. Keep a check on such electrical equipment often to prevent your farm from any sort of destruction.
How Fire protection engineering protects farms from a fire?
Since fire protection engineering focuses on developing buildings and structures that have space planning and layout such that it prevents the spread of fire, therefore, it is helpful to consult fire protection engineers before making a building on your farm. They will help you in installing fire alarm systems in the right places.
Also, they will help you build escaping areas like exit lifts and emergency exits at adequate places. Installation of fire extinguishers at proper places is their thing to consider.
In case of fire break out at a farm
The first and foremost thing is to keep calm. The situation is usually not devastating, but human behaviour worsens the situation. While the fire breaks out, you need to act quickly. Whatever you are going to do, be quick about it.
Although the presence of a fire alarm alerts everyone. In case there is no fire alarm, start shouting and alert everyone. Make sure everyone on the farm knows about it. This way, more people will be there to collaborate for combat with the fire.
It is better if there is already a plan for such situations. It is a great practice to have fire combating rehearsals beforehand. Usually, fire combating rehearsals are practiced twice a year to prepare the staff for such situations.
Never look for your belongings while escaping in such situations. Not even your pets. While escaping, crawling is the best option as the smoke is clearer near the floor. Make sure to open the doors which need to be opened. Opening any extra door will result in the spread of fire.
Also, do not open the door if it is hot. Hot door indicates that the fire is on the other side of the door. If possible, try to close the open windows and doors. This way spread of fire can be restricted to some extent.
In the case of a person catching fire, let the person lay down on the ground immediately. Fire burns in an upward direction. Laying on the floor will reduce the chance of fire reaching the person’s face and head. In such a situation, try to cover the person with thick and heavy materials like a blanket or a coat. Heavy materials block the supply of oxygen thus, reducing the fire.
There is nothing wrong if we say that farm owners and employees sometimes need to stay on the farm the whole night. If the fire breaks out at night while everyone is asleep, a fire alarm will alert you in this case. But for some precautions, you can put the towels along with the door so that smoke doesn’t enter the room.
A lot of smoke can cause suffocation and ultimately death of people. If you are stuck in a room, try to remain close to the window and open it. As soon as the fire protection team will arrive, they will see you and taking you out of the place will be their priority.
Right after observing your situation and knowing you are in a safe place, call 911. This is an emergency call number which is free. They will ask for your address. Speak out clearly and accurately. Let them know if there is something very serious, like a person trapped in a room, they should consider.
Don’t go back to the building at any cost. Neither to pick your belongings nor to save any person. Let the firefighters know about it. They will handle the situation in their own way.
The arrival of firefighters
After you have called a firefighter team, they will reach you in no time. Now, you must not panic the situation, stay calm, and let the professionals do their task.
Firefighters are trained for their work. They know where to start their work and where to end. Let them know clearly about where a person is stuck, the exact location. They will make way.
The next step they will take is, checking the heat on the door. This can be done by spraying some water on the door. If the surface hisses, it indicates that the surface is extremely hot.
Various methods are adopted for combating the fire. The goal is to cool down the fire. One common practice is using water. The water lowers the supply of oxygen, thus helps fight with the fire. Removing the fuel or using a foam, as in fire extinguishers, is another method of combating with the fire.
How fire protection engineers work
Fire protection engineers have the skills to cope with a particular fire situation by recommending fire-resistant materials. They work closely with architects and engineers to install fire prevention and detection systems so that fire can be prevented.
They conduct various tests and see performance to conclude whether fire protection is fully functional or not.
They make sure to conduct fire drills and rehearsals which are practiced in case of a fire breakout.
They pay a visit to different buildings and structures to see if the fire prevention systems have been installed correctly or not. Also to see whether the system is functional or not.
They have to visit the places where fires have been broken out. They will assess the situation and are responsible for concluding, how the fire broke out, what preventive measures were taken and what process was used to fight the situation.
They are responsible for providing locations for emergency exits and other preventive mechanical systems during construction.
Checking the material in a factory or a farm, and then advising the type of fire preventive system they should use is their duty.
They ensure that life-saving equipment is available at places where hazardous chemicals, hazardous materials and radioactive materials are present.
Fire protection engineering works in different departments like aerospace, environmental, and medical departments. Basically, their task is to ensure the protection against fire. They look if the health and safety equipment is functional or not. They are also responsible for training the staff for any emergencies.
A fire protection engineer requires a bachelor’s degree to be able to perform all the aforementioned tasks.
Whether you have a packed farm or an open farm, it is necessary to have all the preventive measures against any type of disaster. Fire prevention measures should be your priority among them all. Due to the presence of various hazardous chemicals and radioactive materials at some farms, the chance of fire breakout is higher than any other disaster.
It is necessary to hire a fire protection engineer while building storage areas or any other structure near a farm. They will help you construct the building with all the safety measures and emergency exits at the right places. Not only at farms, but we cannot also deny the importance of fire protection engineers at any other department.