Forest fires are extremely harmful and can cause widespread destruction if they are not immediately extinguished. These disasters can be categorized as either natural or man-made; however the single largest cause of forest fires is usually human-related errors. These calamities kill wildlife and can completely consume an entire woodland area.
When using forestry bucket trucks, it is essential that the operator know about wildfire prevention guidelines in order to help avoid such a devastating event from occurring. Trees, dry grass, and many other things that are found in abundance in these locations are highly flammable, so it is imperative to do everything possible to prevent these disastrous accidents.
Fire Prevention Tips:
1) Company Guidelines - Be familiar with the company’s emergency action plan regarding blazes. If required, undergo specific fire-fighting training especially regarding the use of flame retardants. Keep a list of emergency contacts posted in a prominent place in the vehicle at all times.
2) Governmental Guidelines - Always abide by local, regional, state and federal regulations which address the issue of fighting flames.
3) Fire Extinguisher Guidelines – Keep at least one fire extinguisher in each truck that is easily accessible in an emergency. It should be inspected regularly to be sure that the pressure is at the recommended level, the nozzle is not blocked, and the tamper seal is still intact. It is recommended that it be shaken once a month to prevent the chemicals from settling. It should be the correct type for the possible scenarios that could occur. Remember that the ranking of a ire extinguisher is based on its ability to put out flames.
4) Vehicle Guidelines -
a. Inspections - Regular inspections should be conducted. Particular attention should be paid to any fuel that may be leaking from the hydraulic lines or exhaust system.
b. Cleaning - Always clean the engine of dust and debris on a regular basis. All combustible debris such as saw dust, twigs, leaves and wood chips that have accumulated near exhaust pipes; fuel and hydraulic oil systems; and hot engine components should be removed. A forestry bucket truck can easily cause a blaze if the debris is not cleaned from it regularly. Clean only with non-flammable solutions paying particular attention to any accumulations of grease, diesel oil, and lubrication oil that is flammable.
c. Parking – A 50-foot distance should be maintained between trucks when they are parked at the end of each shift.
d. Boom Arms – Hydraulic boom arms should be folded when the vehicle is idle. If the boom is not in a folded position and a blaze should occur, the hydraulic hoses could burn and cause the boom to collapse.
e. Battery – The battery should always be turned off when parked to de-energize all circuits.
f. Locking – Always remove the keys from the truck and lock the doors to avoid vandalism that could result in the occurrence of a blaze in or from the vehicle.
g. No Smoking – Smoking should never be allowed in or near the truck at any time.
It is important to put safety above everything else when operating forestry bucket trucks. Wildfires are dangerous and generate intensely devastating forces that put the lives of people, animals and natural resources at risk. The effects of forest disasters are hard to overcome; they cause extensive damage to property and can even take lives. Therefore, it is vital for those who operate any forestry trucks in the woodlands to know how to prevent fires because only that knowledge and some of the preceding safety tips can prevent such fires!