Know your rural fire risks

Know your rural fire risks

Living in rural areas can increase the damage a fire could cause to your property as it takes much longer for emergency services to reach you. Taking extra precautions now can help you protect what matters the most.

Take a look at the list below for some simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of a fire on your rural property.

Managing the hazards

  • Create maintenance programmes for machinery and check regularly to ensure belly pans and spaces around motors are free of oil, dust, grease, and straw.
  • Store any fuels or chemicals in clean and clearly labelled bottles in a single location away from other buildings.
  • Keep paddocks around farm buildings well grazed to reduce the fire hazard.
  • Bale and stack hay when it’s dry to prevent spontaneous combustion due to damp hay.
  • Never place hot machinery or tools, such as chainsaws, on dry grass. Make sure you allow them plenty of time to cool down.
  • The same goes for farm vehicles and dry grass, sometimes a hot exhaust can be enough to spark a fire.
  • If you’re undertaking a burn off make sure you:
    • Are familiar with your district council fire plan, have a permit if needed and carry out the burn off in accordance with the permit conditions.
    • Keep an eye on the weather forecast, especially the wind.
    • Clear the space at least 3 metres around the area to be burnt to prevent the fire spreading.
    • Monitor the fire closely while it’s underway and have a supply of water and fire fighting equipment available.
    • Ensure the fire is out properly, a change of wind can reignite a burn off.

Remember any person causing a vegetation fire can be charged for the cost of fire suppression and if there’s no identifiable cause, neighbours surrounding the fire may be required to pay a share, whether it’s their fault or not. Contact FMG to find out how FMG’s liability cover could help protect you.

Reducing the impact

There are a few things you can do to help deal with a fire if one does get underway, this includes making it easier for emergency services to get to you.

  • Remember, the most important thing you can do is to call 111 immediately. If you’re in a rural area it can take an average of half an hour for the fire service to get to you.
  • Make sure your RAPID number is on display at the end of your drive and that it’s easy to see from the road.
  • Keep driveway access clear from tree branches and debris so emergency services can reach your property.
  • Fit suitable fire extinguishers in your farm buildings and on farm machinery. If you have extinguishers installed already, remember to have these serviced regularly.
  • If you have an FMG Farm Buildings or Farm Contents policy the Suppression Costs benefit covers up to $5,000 for reasonable action you’ve taken to protect your property. So once you’ve called emergency services you may also call in a helicopter for up to one hour to fight any out of control fires that threaten your property.

Find out more

To find out more you can visit www.sparkworld.co.nz, an interactive website brought to you by FMG, that’s full of information on reducing fire risks on and around your property. Or to hear more, you can watch our video below to pick up Marty and Brian’s top fire safe tips. 

Watch our YouTube video!