Tony Pouliot remembers the day his farm’s loader caught on fire and burned beyond repair.
“When it was fully engulfed…there were flames about 40 feet in the air,” he said. “In a matter of 15 minutes it went from running to completely gone.” Pouliot Farms in Westford, Vermont, immediately felt the loss of the destroyed equipment.
“The next day was utter chaos,” said Pouliot, “feeding 800 cows with a small tractor with a bucket loader. We were lost without it.”
If there’s a fortunate part of the story, it’s that the fire wasn’t much worse—as it very well could have been. If the loader had been parked closer to the barn, the situation could have been much more disastrous.
After the pain of losing a valuable piece of equipment to fire, the Pouliots knew they never wanted to repeat the experience. They now keep operational, well-maintained fire extinguishers mounted to their machinery and strategically placed throughout their farm.
Fire Extinguisher Training on Farms
Portable fire extinguishers are ideal for putting out incipient-stage fires, or fires that have just started. But the key to success is to react quickly and decisively. For that, people need to be trained.
Every person on your farm should be trained on the proper operation of a fire extinguisher. In fact, when you provide portable fire extinguishers for employee use, you are required by OSHA to also provide training in their operation. Farm employees need to receive fire extinguisher training for two big reasons:
1. Saving Lives
It’s your responsibility to keep your workers safe on the job. Employees need to be empowered to react quickly to potentially life-threatening situations, and fire extinguisher training helps to provide that level of confidence. Beyond saving their own lives, this training could also save the lives of others, including the animals that are vital to your farm’s operation.
2. Protecting Livelihoods
Fires on farms can cause irreparable damage—and your insurance may or may not cover the cost of replacing equipment or animals, or rebuilding structures. For some farmers, the devastation means that they aren’t able to keep up their way of life.
By teaching farm workers how to operate a portable fire extinguisher, you’re taking a step toward protecting the livelihood you have worked hard to build.
How to Conduct Farm Employee Fire Extinguisher Training
The easiest and most efficient way to complete fire extinguisher training for your workers is to use the services of a professional. Impact Fire provides OSHA-compliant hands-on employee fire extinguisher training. These sessions, which take place onsite at your farm, give your workers the opportunity to put out a real fire with a portable extinguisher. Your staff walks away feeling empowered and prepared to make the right decisions in the face of an incipient-stage fire.
The hands-on, practical element of the fire training session is teaching workers the PASS method of fighting fires with portable fire extinguishers. PASS stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep.
It is vitally important that farm workers have an opportunity to practice this method—with a real fire extinguisher, or a real fire. In an Impact Fire fire training session, your employees can get comfortable with this technique in a safe, controlled way.
A farm worker who has been properly trained on fire extinguisher operation could be the difference between a minor disturbance and a major catastrophe. Don’t wait — start planning a training session on your farm today.