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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

Farm responses can be far from idyllic

For firefighters, farms should be seen as potentially dangerous places with a wide range of hazards

By Adam K. Thiel

Editor's note: A handful "emergency action tubes" have been distributed free to farmers in east central Illinois to aid firefighters during potential responses; check out Chief Adam K. Thiel's take below.

Many of us raised in urban areas think of farms as peaceful and idyllic places where life follows a different pace and risks are minimal.

Although I only spent a short time as a firefighter covering a rural area, during that period I came to see farms as potentially dangerous places with a wide range of hazards including confined spaces, hazardous materials, and specialized machinery.

A number of firefighter fatalities over the years have occurred on farms as a result of flammable liquid/gas releases, silo fires/explosions, and confined space emergencies.

While it's important for fire departments to regularly perform pre-incident surveys of farms whenever possible, just like any other occupancy, providing these on-site "emergency action tubes" makes a lot of sense.

In fact, I think it's a great idea for all types of occupancies, since on-site documentation is readily available to mutual-aid companies or those who might be unfamiliar with that first-due area.

Stay safe!

About the author

With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel FireRescue1's editorial advisor is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.



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