The fight against combine fires

Fire suppression systems could save lives, combines and this year's harvest.

Each year, combine fires put farmers’ lives at risk, as well as causing expensive damage, disruption and stress. As well as the safety risks, combine fires mean farmers could lose critical harvesting time. 

While insurance can cover the cost of a replacement, the loss of time and the stress caused by a combine fire is something no farmer wants to face, especially at such a critical time of year.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of combines is important to help reduce the risks of fires. But it won’t prevent them entirely. So, farmers should consider having fire suppression systems fitted to their combines. The technology uses a dual system of powder and foam to interrupt the chemical reaction, cut off the oxygen supply and rapidly cool superhot surfaces. The result is that fires can be significantly reduced or prevented altogether.

To put these systems to the test, we partnered with suppression system manufacturers Fireward to set fire to a combine. See the results in the below video. 

It’s clear that wider adoption of fire suppression systems could make a huge difference in the fight against farm fires, helping to protect lives, property and the harvest. As the UK’s leading rural insurer, we're offering discounted insurance for farmers whose combines are fitted with suppression systems which meet P-mark global certification standards. It doesn’t matter whether they were added at point of purchase or retro-fitted.

Our tips to prevent fire this harvest:

  • Regularly clean out dust and chaff from hot spots in combines and balers, and check the machine over when you finish using it
  • Fit a suppression system that meets P-mark global certification standards
  • Use a mobile compressor to regularly blow away debris 
  • Switch off engines and ensure moving parts have stopped before clearing blockages or carrying out maintenance 
  • Always stop to investigate hot-running engines or bearings 
  • Have a plan in place in the event of fire, including a system for keeping in contact with lone workers 
  • Keep mobile phones on you at all times  
  • Make sure drivers are aware of the locations and heights of power lines and check that they will safely pass under wires 
  • Make sure there is a fire extinguisher on the combine, which is regularly maintained, and that you know where the nearest water source is.

To find out more about how to prevent fires, as well as the discounts available for combines fitting P-mark approved suppression systems, please contact your local agency office.