Farm responses can be far from idyllic

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

Editor’s Note:

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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