Introducing Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s Farming Liaison Officer

A large proportion of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s (MAWWFRS), 12,000 square kilometre, Service Area is home to a tapestry of rural and agricultural communities, with many of our fire stations based within these villages and towns. To best protect these communities, we are proud to draw upon the invaluable resource of our on-call firefighters, many of whom are primarily employed within the agriculture sector.

Acknowledging the rich farming heritage of mid and west Wales, MAWWFRS also employ a Farm Liaison Officer to work with farmers to best protect their property and livestock from the threat of fire. 

Jeremy Turner is a Farm Liaison Officer for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The son of beef and sheep farmers, Jeremy works on the family farm and runs a small agricultural contracting business. He has also served the community of Hay-on-Wye, as an on-call firefighter, for the past sixteen years.

Jeremy Turner, Farm Liaison Officer, “I thoroughly enjoy my role as a Farm Liaison Officer (FLO) as it allows me to combine my passion for farming with my knowledge of fire safety in order to protect farming communities, similar to the one that I grew up in. I believe that my agricultural upbringing gives me a better understanding of the issues facing the farming community and a clearer insight into farming practices.

A significant part of the job involves talking with members of the farming community. Since taking on the role of an FLO, over two and a half years ago, I have attended numerous livestock markets, agricultural shows and events across mid and west Wales in an effort to raise awareness of my role as well as promoting the free services, which are available to the farming community, from MAWWFRS.

Another important requirement for the Farm Liaison Officer is to work alongside other agencies to best protect our rural communities. To this extent, I work closely with Police Rural Crime Teams, National Parks, Natural Resources Wales and colleagues from Fire and Rescue Services across Wales and the UK.

Everybody will know that the Fire and Rescue Service responds to emergency incidents, but we also provide a wide range of advice to prevent fires. There are several FREE SERVICES that are available to farmers and I encourage them to take full advantage of the following:

FREE Controlled burning advice
MAWWFRS offer support and guidance, which is free of charge, to farmers, graziers and landowners who wish to carry out controlled burning as part of their land management. Burning illegally, without following the regulations set out in the Heather and Grass Burning Code for Wales 2008, could result in penalties being applied to any rural payments received as well as criminal offences; therefore we want to work with those people who are using burning as a land management practice to make sure they do it safely and legally. During a visit to your farm, a FLO can help you create a 'Burn plan', discuss burn techniques, fire breaks and the safe management of a controlled burn.

We can also discuss other alternative methods of land management and provide advice to those wishing to carry out controlled burns, such as large bonfires.

FREE Farm Fire Prevention Advice
Upon request, a Farm Liaison Officer will visit your farm to offer FREE fire prevention advice to reduce the risk from fire occurring. The FLO can also provide advice on a fire plan, in the event of a fire, and identify hazards that could pose a risk to firefighters attending an incident on your farm; such as the locations of slurry pits, fertiliser and chemical stores and solar panel installations.

These visits also provide the Fire Service with an opportunity to pre-plan for the event of a fire occurring as well as identifying any issues relating to access to the farm or water supply which may hinder us when responding. 

Free Safe and Well Visit
As most farms are also homes, an FLO visit can include a FREE Safe and Well check. During a Safe and Well Visit, we can provide you with free home fire safety advice and cover topics such as electrical safety, safe cooking practices, escape plans and what to do in the event of discovering a fire in your home. We can also install free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, should your home require them.

Free Bale Temperature Testing
If you have concerns regarding the temperature of your bales, please contact Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service to request a check of the temperature and moisture content of the bales, using specialist equipment. This service is also free of charge.

Depending on the readings we receive, we will then work with you to formulate a plan to manage the risk of spontaneous combustion.

If the bales are deemed to be at high risk, we may advise that bales are removed from stacks. If this is the case, we can have fire appliances on-site in case of spontaneous combustion occurring.

Animal Rescues
MAWWFRS also respond to animal rescues and our crews carry specialist equipment that can be utilised to perform rescues on farms.

The Fire and Rescue Service can also deploy specially trained rope rescue teams and wading teams to rescue an animal from height, water and unstable ground, such as slurry pits.

There is no financial charge for performing animal rescues on farms and we urge farmers not to put themselves at risk by attempting to do so.

As a Farming Liaison Officer, I would encourage all members of the farming community to make contact with our FLO Team for all, non-emergency, fire safety-related advice. As a Fire and Rescue Service, we would also welcome suggestions on how to improve the FLO role or any other ways in which we could offer additional support to farmers and the wider agricultural community.”

 

To contact your local Farming Liaison Officer please phone 0800 169 1234 or email farmsliaisonofficer@mawwfire.gov.uk