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NFU Mutual is urging farmers to think prevention, people, plans and place to reduce the risk of a combine fire this summer.

“Fire remains one of the greatest risks to lives and property”, said Andy Manson, managing director of NFU Mutual Risk Management Services Ltd.

“As well as taking preventative steps and regular maintenance to reduce the risks we’re urging farmers to share their fire plan with everyone on-farm, as well as ensuring emergency services can find your location easily by using the What3Words app.

“Last year NFU Mutual dealt with more than 80 combine harvester fire claims. Behind the figures is the devastation to lives and property, disruption to harvest and difficulty finding replacement machines at the busiest time of year.”

To help incentivise a safer harvest, NFU Mutual has also introduced an insurance discount for farmers installing accredited suppression systems on their combine harvesters.

Andy explained: “Suppression systems are one of the most effective ways you can protect yourself, your combine and the harvest. When an engine bay catches fire, the systems rapidly detect, contain and extinguish fire.

NFU Mutual tips to prevent a combine fire this harvest:

  • Ensure planned preventative maintenance (PPM) is up to date and in accordance with the manufacturer’s service schedule before using any machinery, including areas where friction or sparks could be created
  • Fit a suppression system that meets P-mark status to contain, extinguish and prevent fire
  • Regularly clean out dust and chaff from hot spots in combines and balers and check the machine over when you finish use for the day
  • Switch off engines and ensure moving parts have stopped before clearing blockages or carrying out maintenance
  • Always stop to investigate hot-running engines or bearings
  • Have a plan in place in the event of fire including a system for keeping in contact with lone workers and anyone working or living on farm
  • Keep mobile phones on you at all times – it’s no use to you if it’s left in a tractor or pickup cab
  • Make sure drivers are aware of the locations and heights of power lines and check that you will safely pass under wires
  • Make sure there is a fire extinguisher on the combine, and that it is regularly maintained – and that you know where the nearest water source is
  • In very dry conditions, keep a bowser filled with water on hand, and be prepared to create a fire break in the event of a crop fire
  • Use the What3WordsApp so that emergency services can find your location easily
  • Remind staff to keep well-hydrated, take sufficient rest breaks and monitor for fatigue, stress and mental ill health symptoms.

NFU Mutual has also posted a live fire suppression demonstration to its YouTube to help farmers prepare:

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