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Danger warning follows sharp rise in farm fires

September 30, 2016 by  
Filed under News & Business

Farm Tractor On Fire

A sharp rise in farm fires has prompted warnings for farmers to check their fire prevention and evacuation procedures.

East Anglia and south-east England are among the worst-hit regions, according to the latest claims statistics from NFU Mutual. Nationally, the cost of farm fire claims rose by an alarming 14% to £47.9m in 2015, said the rural insurer.

The most common cause of farm fires was electrical faults, which were responsible for almost half of all fire claims during 2015. Arson and mechanical faults were the next most common causes, said NFU Mutual rural
affairs specialist Tim Price.

Arson attack

Police are appealing for information following an arson in Norfolk last month. Norfolk Fire and Rescue attended a fire of two agricultural vehicles at Hickling on Friday, 16 September. After an initial assessment they believed the fire was started deliberately.

“Fire remains one of the greatest hazards to the lives of farmers,” said Mr Price. It was important to be alert to the risks and have plans prepared and shared with family members and staff – as well as  ensuring sufficient fire extinguishers are inspected and regularly maintained.

Mr Price added: “The scale of these claims shows how important it is to take all possible steps to prevent fires breaking out – and to have clear plans to evacuate people and livestock safely in the event of a fire.”

NFU Mutual provides a long-established face-to-face risk management consultancy service to farmers. It is extensively used by large farms and rural businesses to manage the risks in their businesses – including fire.

Online advice

The company also provides an online advice service to help smaller farms – typically with a workforce of up to three people – actively manage the risks in their businesses and comply with health and safety legislation.

Norfolk police have also issued their own fire prevention advice to farmers. The constabulary is working with the NFU in an effort to catch arsonists and called on farmers and the wider rural community to report any suspicious behaviour.

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