A barn fire is a farmer’s worst nightmare and often, it brings significant emotional and economic damage to a farming community. There are many steps that can be taken to establish a good fire prevention plan to reduce the risk of fire on farm properties. The following information outlines simple measures to ensure farm buildings and livestock are safer from fire. These fires are largely preventable by following good fire safety practices.
Fires require three elements: oxygen, fuel and heat. Farm buildings are particularly susceptible to fast-moving fires because they are well-ventilated. Barns and farm buildings provide a plentiful fuel supply for fires to start and grow: the buildings themselves are constructed of wood and house solid fuels such as hay, straw and grain. The final element, the heat source, can be sunlight, friction, electricity, open flame, gas compression and/or chemical reactions. Measures on how to help prevent farm fires are outlined below.
- Install and maintain lightning rods and grounding cables on barns and silos to give lightning a direct path to follow to the ground, keeping barns and livestock safe.
- Store hazardous products like herbicides and fertilizers in dry, well-ventilated areas according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and applicable regulations.
- Refuel machinery and equipment outdoors away from potential ignition sources like open flames or sparks.
- Enforce a ‘No Smoking’ policy in and around all farm buildings and post ‘No Smoking’ signs in prominent locations.
- Ensure that electrical installations and repairs are done by licensed electricians. Any damaged electrical items should be taken out of service.
- Carry out regular inspections of electrical and mechanical systems for corrosion or malfunction that may cause a fire.
- Install and maintain fire extinguishers in your barn, tool shed and other farm buildings. You should also have fire extinguishers on all mechanical equipment and machinery.
- Burn permits are required for all open-air burning. Visit our burn permit page for information and the application process.
Having your property number (green 911 number) visible and prominently posted helps emergency responders locate your property. Ensure your property number is visible from the road and clear of obstructions. For farm properties without a green number, the Town of Georgina offers the Farm 911 project. This project assigns yellow 911 property numbers to farm properties that do not have an assigned green number. This can assist emergency services in finding the property in the event of an emergency.
Farm 911 Emily Project Access Point (EPAP)
Farm accidents often happen in remote locations. This can make it difficult for first responders to locate the site of the emergency and respond in time. Following an accident, every second counts. But without a clear address marker, it can be difficult for first responders to find the people who need help.
Farm 911 encourages property owners to apply for a civic address located at the entrances of rural properties to help first responders locate an emergency as quickly as possible.
Large properties with multiple entrances in rural settings can pose challenges for first responders. The goal of Farm 911 is to create address markers and clear signage to help with access and response time.
In the event of an emergency, no one should have to wait helplessly for first responders. Time is everything and a civic address at the entrance to a farm field could make all the difference. The Town of Georgina encourages agricultural property owners to inquire and apply for the installation of one of these civic addresses.
Note: the definition of property owner includes authorized representatives with lawful control of the property.
Applications will be reviewed by the Planning Division. The Town’s review process will not begin until a complete application package has been received. Changes to the application by the applicant during the review process will increase the length of the review period.
Applying for a FARM 911 EPAP address does not guarantee the application will be approved. If approved, applicants will be notified by phone and the sign will be sent by courier to the applicant.
FARM 911 EPAP Address Use
The address assigned to the property shall only be used to reference the location of the field entrance to the property (such as for emergency services) and shall not be used as a mailing address for the property.
Installation and maintenance
The property owner and/or tenant shall be responsible for the installation of the address post and sign. The installation guidelines, as indicated through the Civic Numbering By-law and Manual, shall be followed. The owner is responsible to ensure signage remains visible and is maintained. If the sign is damaged, the owner may contact the Town for a replacement sign.
Changes to access/entrance
Property owners must apply for an entrance permit, and any other permits/approvals required, for any changes to the access in which a FARM 911 EPAP address has been assigned. An assigned address through the FARM 911 EPP does not guarantee an approved entrance permit for this location, as at the time of the entrance permit application, the access/entrance will need to meet the Town’s current standards.
Classification of access/entrance
The assigned address through this application shall only be used for fields or vacant properties (classified as field entrances), and will not be suitable for residential building applications. Further, obtaining a FARM 911 EPAP address in no way constitutes a legal entrance.
Frequently asked questions
What is a civic address?
A civic address is a combination of a building number (which sometimes includes a unit number, suite number etc.) a street name (which can include a prefix direction, name, suffix and type) and the lowest legally recognized jurisdiction.
What is the difference between a civic address and a 911 number?
Your civic address is what you must provide to the 911 dispatch person in case of emergency. In essence they are one in the same thing, however this is not necessarily the case in other jurisdictions.
Do I need a civic address?
If you own a property which contains a dwelling(s), or has a phone line, you must have a civic address. If you own a property which contains a building in which people spend time (e.g. working in a barn) you should have a civic address. If you have a vacant piece of land a civic address is optional.
Do I need a green civic address sign?
As a general rule, rural properties require a green sign and post and urban properties do not, although hamlet areas can be difficult to be sure as some have signs and some do not. Looking around at neighbouring properties would provide a good indication, but it may require contacting Town staff to be positive.