No cotton farmer can afford to grow lax about their fire extinguishers during the harvest season. Forgetting to make sure your cotton stripper has fire extinguishers where the operator can easily reach them and that both of the extinguishers are fully operational can result in substantial equipment damage, crop loss, and even loss of life.
Cotton stripper fires are not only destructive, but because of all the lint, diesel fuel, grease, high-pressure hydraulic oil, and other dry matter the cotton stripper is covered in, the fire quickly spreads. It can take just 3 minutes for a tiny flame to become an uncontrollable inferno. In less than 15 minutes, the cotton stripper will be lost (see the video below for a first hand example.
Reducing the Risk of a Cotton Stripper Fire
The best way to ensure that you never have to deal with the heartbreak and financial ramifications that come with a cotton stripper fire is doing everything in your power to prevent a cotton harvest fire from ever starting. It’s critical to be aware of the conditions: the drier and windier the conditions, the greater the chance of creating a static electricity spark that could trigger a fire. When stripping cotton on dry, windy days, be vigilant about the early signs of fire and react quickly. Here are other steps you can take to reduce your risk of a fire:
- Remove the lint accumulation from all areas of the cotton stripper.
- Educate all of your employees about the risk of fire while they’re operating the cotton stripper and make sure they’re well versed on how to respond in the event of a fire.
- Pay attention to rocks and bits of metal that can enter the stripper. The speed that these enter the row unit can generate a fire starting spark
Cotton producers are at risk for two different types of fires: cotton lint fires and electrical/chemical/grease fires. To make sure you're covered, most cotton strippers sold by Hurst Farm Supply are equipped with two very different fire extinguishers: a 2.5 gal water-type fire extinguisher for dry matter fires and a 10 lb. ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher that’s suited for grease/chemical fires.
Cotton Stripper Fire Extinguisher Inspection
Inspecting your fire extinguishers is the single most important step for reducing cotton stripper harvest fires.
- Each time the cotton stripper gets started, check to make sure that the fire extinguisher is where it belongs and can be reached easily.
- At the start of each cotton harvest, make sure the seals are intact.
- Examine the fire extinguisher and make sure it doesn’t have any dents, rust, or cracks in it
- Look at the extinguisher’s pressure gauge and make sure the extinguisher has the pressure needed to work properly in the event of a fire.
- Keep records of each fire extinguisher’s inspection date. John Deere recommends you inspect your fire extinguishers at least every 10 hours or daily.
Let Hurst Farm Supply Care for your Fire Extinguishers
No one understands the important role fire extinguishers will play in this year’s cotton harvest better than the Hurst Farm Supply team. We want to do everything to keep you, your employees and your equipment safe, which is why we urge all of our customers to bring their old fire extinguishers in and trade it for a fully charged fire extinguisher that’s ready to be installed in your cotton stripper. Our parts department also has brand new John Deere fire extinguishers available for purchase.