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Checking Your Barn For Fire Risk

Published: December 20, 2016 9:17 am ET

Last Comment: December 20, 2016 10:17 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

One organization in Ontario has established a program to help property owners detect hot spots and potential fire hazards in barns.

Farm & Food Care Ontario, a non-profit coalition representing Ontario farmers and associated businesses, is operating a lending program of FLIR (forward looking infrared) modules to be used as a fire prevention and awareness tool by farmers.

Some horsepeople may be familiar with these thermography units as they have been used by veterinarians to detect areas of abnormal heat or cold alerting them to a potential musculoskeletal problem. However, these units can also detect overloaded or corroded electrical components that may create a fire risk.

By borrowing and using the heat-sensing FLIR modules it is hoped that property owners will increase their awareness of fire safety, potential risks and prevention. Farm & Food Care assumes no responsibility for what might be found or actions taken on an operation. With any review of their electrical system, owners are encouraged to discuss their concerns with a licensed electrician where appropriate.

In most cases the exact cause of barn fires remains undetermined, but it is believed that many start in the electrical systems of farms. The corrosive nature of the barn environment; dust from animals and bedding, moisture, and manure gases create an environment that is not friendly to electrical components, even when designed properly. Over time, it is believed that corrosion in receptacles can foster an environment where this corrosion leads to resistance and heat, where fires could start.

Inspections with FLIR (heat sensing) cameras can help to detect components that may be overloaded or corroded which create a fire risk potential.

The FLIR cameras are of two types:

  • A FLIR Spot Thermal, gun style with a small screen and internal camera card for image storage

  • A “plug in” module for a smart phone or tablet, these come in specific Apple (iOS) or Android models, where the phone becomes the screen and storage device for thermal images or video.

Farm & Food Care Ontario has made these tools free to borrow. For more information or to borrow one of the FLIR modules or sensors please contact:

Brent Royce, Farm & Food Care Ontario
[email protected]
office: 519-837-1326 ext. 292

Sandra McCann/Jacqui Empson Laporte
OMAFRA Clinton Resource Centre
519-482-3333 or 519-482-1288

(with files from Food & Farm Care Ontario)

December 20, 2016 - 10:17 amWhen we were on our farm we

John Findley SAID...

When we were on our farm we had smoke detectors in the shed rows and alarms that sounded outside the barn and in the two upper levels of the house. They were very loud and we did suffer a few false alarms caused by dust but never the less felt fairly good with the arrangement.

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