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Farm Fires Safety Advice (Whitby Area)

5th October 2010

Following a number of farm fires in the Whitby area North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to issue some safety advice to local farmers. Each year the Fire and Rescue Service attends hundreds of farm fires, the vast majority of which may have been prevented by taking some simple precautions. The most common causes of these fires are arson, electrical faults and the breakdown of machinery.

You can take some steps to reduce the risk of fire by:

  • Having electrical wiring and systems checked and maintained by a competent electrician – especially in outbuildings used for storing crops or rearing livestock, and ensuring all buildings are wired through a fuse board with the correct fuses fitted and maintained. Pay particular attention to heating and lighting units (including combined units).
  • Maintaining and cleaning agricultural vehicles and machinery regularly
  • Taking precautions to make your farm a less likely target for arsonists such as fitting security lights, fixing broken fences, putting gates up to restrict access and keeping doors to buildings locked where possible.
  • Ensuring hay and straw are baled and stored dry, as moisture in hay and straw will encourage decomposition which can create large amounts of heat.
  • Storing paper, bales, feed and other combustibles away from electrical items and heat/spark generating machinery. Avoid the use of heaters in farm buildings where possible and always switch them off at night.
  • Having a designated smoking area on the farm away from any potential hazards.
  • Store chemicals, fertilizers and fuel separately in secure dedicated buildings.

As several of the farm fires we have recently attended are thought to have been arson we would advise being extra vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity to the Police.

If you discover a fire leave the building immediately and call the fire service.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places an obligation on the person responsible for any premises with 5 or more employees to have a written fire risk assessment. If you employ less than 5 people you are still required to carry out a risk assessment  but do not have to record your findings.  

If you want to know more about the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order or you would like more advice on fire safety please contact your local fire station or visit

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