Adaptor help for firefighters when tackling field fires

05 July 2023

A firefighter walking along a line of flames in an arable field

Photograph: iStock (Andrew Graham)

Firefighters in Norfolk will be able to access water more quickly when tackling field and farm fires thanks to a new adaptor.

After meetings with the NFU, fire appliances across the county are being issued with ‘banjo’ adaptors. This will allow firefighters to access water from water bowsers when dealing with rural incidents, including field fires during harvest.

NFU County Adviser Flora Archer said: “We know that fast access to water is absolutely critical when fighting fires in rural areas so this is excellent news. These adaptors will help protect farm businesses but also the wider rural community across Norfolk.”

A Norfolk Fire and Rescue spokesman said: “The adaptors will allow quicker access to water, enabling us to attack fires more efficiently and effectively.”

Take steps to reduce the risk of field fires

Norfolk Fire and Rescue is also urging farmers to take steps to reduce the risk of field fires.

Areas to consider include:

  • The rule of 30s. Extreme wildfire conditions exist when the temperature is over 30°C, winds are over 30kph and relative humidity is below 30%. Farmers should consider harvesting when these conditions subside.
  • Once headlands have been cut, consider cutting firebreaks through sections of the field, such as through the middle then the quarters. Should a fire occur this will slow the rate of spread.
  • The wind will be the driving force if a fire starts, commencing harvesting from a downwind position will mean that any fire will only affect stubble rather than standing crop.
  • Consider that fire will spread uphill quicker than downhill so if possible start at the top and work downhill.
  • Early cultivation close to property is the best course of action you could take to prevent any fire crossing from the field.
  • Have a bowser, cultivator or slurry tank close by while harvesting. If you do need to cultivate a firebreak or spread water, ensure that have a clear escape route but do not put yourself in danger.
  • If you notice smoke from a combine or tractor, stop the engine before investigating but make sure that you do not leave your mobile phone in the cab. If there is a fire contact 999 before attempting to extinguish it.
  • When calling 999 give the best access to the field using the What3Words location system. It would be a good idea to have these recorded for all fields on a card in every farm vehicle. Then send someone to the nearest road to direct fire crews to the scene.

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