With increased agricultural production, farmers are using more fertilizers and chemicals. This has caused new problems for fire fighters due to the numerous types of chemicals used and the increased chemical storage by farmers and suppliers.
Fire fighters should spend more time with farmers and suppliers to pre-plan in case of a fire. Trade name and formulations number in the thou- sands. Not only are many of these chemicals poisonous for their intended use, but many are toxic to humans both internally and externally. For this reason proper storage, hazard identification, established emergency procedures, and fire fighter training are extremely important.
Chemicals used by farmers and commercial applicators include: fertilizers, soil conditioners, and pesticides.
Many of these chemicals release toxic fumes with little or no warning when exposed to fire. Most serious are the organophosphate and chlorinated hydrocarbons.
When fighting chemical fires wear protective clothing, use a self-contained breathing apparatus (air paks), and have sufficient air available to complete the job. For additional protection work on the upwind side of the fire.