How Internet of Things (IoT) technology can help monitor and alert a barn fire

“Firefighters battle through the night to stop a large barn fire” is sadly the devastating headline we read so many times.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

This old saying may be the case with many things, but sadly with barn fires there is never a cure. Barns are often used to store highly flammable and combustible materials including hay, straw, bedding materials, horse blankets, paint, fertiliser, pesticides, herbicides and more and once set alight and flames are spotted, it is usually too late! It is only when a fire is discovered in the burning stage (smouldering) is there a chance it could be put out.

Barn Fires in the South West

According to Rural Insurer, NFU Mutual, claims figures in 2018 showed damage costs from farm fires to be £46.4 million, a 27.5% increase on the previous year. The south west was the third worst affected region with claims costs reaching more than £7m, a 14% rise from 2017.

NFU Mutual state that whilst the most common cause of fire on farms in the South West were electrical fires (2018) e.g. due to bad electrics or faulty wiring, the next most common causes were fires spreading from other areas, including barns and homesteads (23%), and arson (12%).

Fire Prevention in Barns

Preventing barn fires and being well prepared to deal with them can mean the difference between life and death for animals as well as farmers and their staff, so it is vital you always remain vigilant.

Fires start out small, but lack of detection can soon have them out of control.

There are steps you can take to prevent fires from breaking out in barns that include regular safety checks on electrical equipment, fencing off straw/haystacks to keep them well away from farm buildings, ensure fire extinguishers work well and more BUT what if you had sensors installed in your barn that would immediately alert you to smoke detection or changes in temperature? Sensors that are designed to detect slow smouldering fires before they become catastrophic.

Does this sound too cost prohibitive? It does not have to be… Ver Facil Limited supply easy to fit battery operated smoke detectors that communicate across the long range “LoRaWAN” system which will immediately alert you to smoke or heat changes in your barn. With battery lifetimes of several years these small and efficient devices can provide an early warning system.

We have a range of sensors available including LoRaWAN thermal mapping devices and temperature sensors that may be deployed within haystack.

Contact us today to find out more about how LoRaWAN technology can be used to monitor or alert barn fires.

What to do if a Fire Breaks out in your Barn (NFU Mutual).

In the unfortunate event that a fire breaks out in your barn, do not hesitate to:

  • Call the Fire and Rescue Service immediately
  • Tell the operator where the fire is - giving your full address and postcode.
  • Tell the operator of any chemicals that are involved or likely to become involved in the fire.
  • Ensure the operator knows if any access to the site will be difficult for fire engines or if there will be problems accessing water supplies on the fire site
  • Never attempt to fight the fire unless it is safe to do so
  • If possible, send someone to the farm entrance to direct the Fire Service to the fire.
  • Clear access routes for fire engines.
  • Move livestock if necessary
  • Make yourself known to the fire crew on arrival and answer any questions they may have.