23 Oct Thermal blankets could reduce farming fire risk
Could WA’s agriculture sector benefit from adoption of a simple fire prevention tactic used extensively throughout mining and energy?
Every year, around seven per cent of harvesters catch fire, with one in 10 of these fires causing serious damage to machinery or surrounding crops.
The resultant losses can easily reach the hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the real danger to lives.
A major cause of harvester fires is the build-up of dust and debris that layers and cakes on hot exhausts and turbo systems, which can lead to serious overheating.
The situation can be exacerbated by flammable crops or particularly hot, dry weather.
EPE Managing Director, Pete Gardner points out that although thermal blankets usage in resources is widespread and mandatory, they are seldom used in agriculture.
“Thermal blankets have been around for decades” Pete said.
“However, for one reason or other, the farming sector has shied away from using them.
“As well as the fire risk from caking dust, farmers are also vulnerable to refuelling in remote areas, with oil and fuel spillages on extremely hot surfaces prone to flash fires.”
Correctly fitted thermal blankets can prevent the build-up of debris, as well as lowering the risk of oil or fuel coming into contact with hot exhaust systems.
“Compared to the cost of a fire, blankets are relatively cheap and can last for years. They can also reduce insurance premiums,”
Although little formal research has been done on the use of thermal blankets in agriculture, anecdotal reports from the small number of farmers using blankets show that they can help to mitigate fire risk.
“We see thermal blankets as a new way to solve an old problem, and potentially save lives and businesses,” Pete said.
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