Steel sheds are every farm owner’s essential investments, used not only to keep livestock secure but also to protect valuable farm equipment and assets. These facilities have become staples in rural properties and in areas where agriculture is a major business. Nevertheless, versatile and durable as they are, steel farm sheds are not impervious to potential dangers, such as firestorms or bushfires. That is why it’s vital for farm owners to take precautionary measures to minimise the risk of one’s rural steel building from being engulfed in fire.
Below you will find helpful tips on how you can safeguard your investment and keep fires away from your farm sheds.
- Clean and protect your farm shed’s gutters. Farm owners can easily mitigate damage by preparing well for the bushfire season. This includes ensuring that gutters or rooftops are regularly cleaned to prevent build-up of leaves and other debris. Dry leaves and twigs will burn quickly, and having heaps of them on your gutters or rooftops will definitely not do any good. If you can’t clean or maintain them regularly, it would be advisable to install leaf guards instead.
- Avoid storing flammable materials in your shed. One of the main reasons farm owners have steel sheds erected is to have a storage area for chemicals, including potentially dangerous and flammable ones. However, during extreme weather conditions – for instance, summer in Australia, where bushfires are common, it is imperative that these flammable chemicals and materials are removed or transferred to a safer environment. Buildings with ColorBond steel sheeting will not likely catch fire, but if the shed’s contents are flammable, then a different story might be said.
- Trim trees or maintain growth around the building. If there are any trees, grass or shrubs near or around the shed, it would be wise to have them trimmed and maintained as they can increase the chances of spreading fire. Or if you’re still building a farm shed, maintaining a two-metre gap between trees and the shed is ideal.
- For hay sheds, proper stacking and storage of bales is essential. To protect hay sheds and prevent barn fires, farm owners should ensure that hay is fully dry when baled. This is because storing hay that still contains excess moisture, combined with humidity and warm temperatures, can produce enough heat to ignite fire. Thus, leading to a significant loss in animal feed and farm facilities.
- Ember-proof the shed. During a bushfire, an ember attack can occur when burnt material, typically burning parts of trees, gets carried away by the wind in clusters. Ember attacks shouldn’t be underestimated as they’re actually notorious for spreading fire and causing significant damage to properties. That is why it’s essential for owners to consider ember-proofing their sheds. Farm owners can secure their sheds by sealing gaps within the building, including the roof spaces, and around the eaves and ledges, so that ember cannot enter and start fire inside.
Preparation is always key to surviving fire or any forms of threat. Thus, you must take great care and follow the tips outlined above to ensure that your steel farm shed and other assets are properly protected against bushfires.