Fire warning for heat lamps in lambing sheds

A firefighting farmer is raising awareness about the dangers of heat lamps in lambing sheds and has urged other farmers to be vigilant to keep people and livestock safe.

Stewart Macpherson helps run Dell Farm in Whitebridge, near Inverness, and is an on-call firefighter with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).

During the busy lambing period, firefighters across the country rush to farms to deal with fires caused by heat lamps.

See also: Why on-farm water supply is critical to contain fires

“The consequences can be tragic, with animals killed, and fire can have a devastating impact on your livelihood,” the farmer said.

Mr Macpherson farms with his wife, Amy, and their busy lambing period is well under way.

“I am well aware of the critical importance of using a heat source to warm a newborn lamb to boost its chance of survival.

“Farmers and crofters will continue to use these devices, but I would urge caution, and for anyone using these heat sources to take simple but hugely effective measures to reduce the risk of fire.”

Safety advice

The fire risk on farms is high due to the presence of fuel stores and combustible materials such as hay and straw.

Farmers should:

  • Ensure any heat source is properly secured
  • Keep any heat source away from flammable material
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Always call the fire service in the event of a farm fire

SFRS regularly responds to a range of farm incidents, including fires, flooding and animal rescue.

The fire service works closely with rural communities in Scotland to promote safe working.

Farmers in the country have been urged to sign up to the rural risk database, which notifies firefigthers of risks they might face on farms.

“This data is absolutely vital for the safety of firefighters first and foremost, but could also be crucial in terms of reducing any loss or damage at your farm in the event of emergency,” said Mr Macpherson.

SFRS area commander Derek Wilson, who is local senior officer for Highland, said on-call officers make a huge contribution to their communities.

“We will always work with partners to ensure the safety of our communities.

“The Rural Risk Project is another key example of how local communities can play a vital role to improve public and firefighter safety.”