Firstly, farmers are required to ensure that the electrics in their barns are maintained to the highest standard. It is worth getting a qualified professional to check that all electrical inspection certificates are up to date, following the regulatory guidelines laid out in the IEE Wiring Guide. Whilst not technically a legal requirement, it is recognised industry best practice. Not following such guidance will put farmers or organisations in a defenceless position in the event of an injury or death.
Additional precautions against building fire should also be taken. Glass, mirrors or even discarded empty bottles present a potential fire risk as they concentrate sunlight onto surfaces. It is a surprisingly common cause of farm fires. Once a building full of tinder-dry material goes up in flames, it is almost impossible to put the fire out.
It is also important to be aware that the stacking of straw and hay bales can present a particular fire risk and care should be taken as to how this is done. The insurance conditions for stacking bales have become increasingly stringent in recent years and not all farmers have kept abreast of these changes.
There may be a stack limit within a policy which is defined by value rather than volume. If a farmer has a stack with £60,000 worth of straw or hay, whether stored in a barn or out in the open, in the event of a fire there is a possibility that it will have exceeded the limit set out in the terms of the insurance policy. The best way for farmers to comply with the terms of their fire insurance policy is to split their stacks and keep them in different barns or locations.
Farmers should also avoid taking obvious risks such as stacking bales up near naked light bulbs. If there is a bulb dangling from the ceiling there is a risk that heaps of dry material piled too close to it could combust.