Poultry house fire safety
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Learn how to prevent poultry house fires

poultry house fire safety

One of the ways Nationwide supports its farm and ranch customers is by maintaining an extensive database of losses, including causes when they are identifiable. This database enables Nationwide to identify trends and offer insights to members to help prevent losses, including the loss of a poultry building due to fire.

In the poultry-rich Delmarva region, for instance, loss data reviewed from 2012 to 2014 show a direct correlation between the age of a poultry building and the potential for a total loss fire. Data for this region – which includes part of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia – show that fire was the cause of loss in 75% of cases for poultry buildings 20 years old or older, and in 25% of cases for buildings 10 to 15 years old.

Although the cause of a fire is often documented as "unknown," data show that the primary drivers for total-loss fires for poultry houses are a condition of the electrical or heating/gas systems.

Electrical fires

In the Delmarva region, electrical fires have been the #1 cause of poultry building fire losses. Here are some questions that may help you reduce fire losses.

How old is your building's electrical system?

Is your electrical system sealed from the corrosive environment in a poultry building?

The electrical system should be installed per National Electric Code (NEC) Article 547 for Poultry Confinement Buildings. Basic standards include the following:

For more information on the National Electric Code (NEC) Article 547, visit:

Is your electrical entrance or service panel located outside the corrosive confinement environment?

Ideally, circuit breakers should be located outside confinement buildings or moved when there is an opportunity to relocate. In situations where circuit breakers are installed inside poultry confinement buildings, they should be:

Does your poultry building have permanently wired cords?

Permanently wired cords are problematic because, over time, the vibration from equipment or the repetitive physical manipulation of the cord breaks down the insulation covering the conductors.  When the insulation breaks down, it creates an area where arc faulting occurs. Standard circuit breakers are insensitive to detecting arc faulting and will not de-energize a circuit where arc faulting is occurring.

Common areas where permanently wired cords tend to be installed include:

Permanently wired cords should be replaced every 10 years to reduce the likelihood of fire from arc faulting. Better yet, replace permanently wired cords with corrosion resistant wiring.

Heating/Gas system fires

In the Delmarva region, heating/gas systems were the #2 cause of poultry building fires. Here are some questions that may help you reduce heating/gas system fires.

Are you using the appropriate equipment and inspecting your heating/gas system?

Are brooder stoves installed per manufacturer's recommendations?

Other ways to help prevent losses from fire or lightning

To help prevent losses from fire or lightning:

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