Fire Extinguishers on the Farm

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      Handling a fire on your farm depends on having all the proper safety equipment in place, and fire extinguishers are one of these crucial pieces of equipment. Fire extinguishers should be located in the following areas: workshop, barns, farm vehicles, combines, balers, tractors, and in the house.

      In the stores you see many types and sizes of extinguishers, so which ones should you buy? Well, that depends on the location and the class of fire that may start in that location. Remember, if you use the wrong type of extinguisher, you may cause a more severe problem! Here is the type of fire extinguisher needed for a particular location:

      • Workshop
      10 pound dry chemical, multi-purpose ABC extinguisher
      5 pound dry chemical ABC extinguisher
      • Barns
      10 pound dry chemical, multi-purpose ABC extinguisher
      2.5 gallon pressurized water extinguisher
      • Farm Vehicles
      5 pound dry chemical, multi-purpose ABC extinguisher
      • Combines
      10 pound dry chemical, multi-purpose ABC extinguisher
      2.5 gallon pressurized water extinguisher
      • Balers
      2.5 gallon pressurized water extinguisher
      • Tractors
      10 pound dry chemical, multi-purpose ABC extinguisher
      • Silos
      20 pound dry chemical, multi-purpose ABC extinguisher
      2.5 gallon pressurized water extinguisher
    What does "ABC" mean? Just remember this rule of thumb:

    A is for ASHES.

    Ash fires are: wood, cloth, hay, straw, or any material that will burn to an ash.

    B is for BARRELS.

    Barrel fires are: paints, petroleum products, and other flammable liquids.

    C is for CURRENT.

    Current fires are: motors, engines, electrical, etc.

    Other interesting facts and handy information:
    • Fire extinguishers with DRY CHEMICAL will last approximately one second for every pound of dry chemical in the extinguisher. For example, a 10 pounder would last 10 seconds.
    • WATER fire extinguishers will last 30 seconds for every gallon of water. For example, a 2.5 gallon water extinguisher will last 75 seconds.
    • All vehicle and machinery fire extinguishers should be mounted on the outside near the door.
    • Fire extinguishers for buildings should be mounted near the exit doors.
    • Some balers are equipped with bracket mounting areas on both sides of the baler.
    • Fire extinguishers should be inspected monthly, and have a tag with the date of the last inspection.
    • Turn all dry chemical extinguishers upside down and tap them on the bottom to loosen the powder stored in them. The indicator on the extinguisher shows the charge of gas (nitrogen) that will force the powder out.
    • Train everyone over the age of 12 in the use of fire extinguishers. They should also know how to:
    • get everyone out of danger
    • call the fire department
    • fight small fires only
    • pull the pin, aim at the base of the fire, and squeeze the handle
    • start fighting the fire approximately six to ten feet away using a back and forth motion
    Alberta Farm Safety Program
    or toll-free: 310-FARM (3276)

    Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Farm Safety Staff:
    Janice Donkers, Youth Coordinator:
    Kenda Lubeck, Awareness Coordinator:
    Raelyn Peterson, Coordinator:
    Sharon Stollery, Manager:
    Blair Takahashi, Specialist:
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    For more information about the content of this document, contact Kenda Lubeck.
    This information published to the web on June 3, 2003.
    Last Reviewed/Revised on November 6, 2018.