If a fire occurs in a pesticide storage shed or an area where pesticides are kept, special precautions must be taken as many pesticide vapours which are given off during a fire are very hazardous. Only properly trained people with self-contained breathing apparatus should attempt to put out chemical fires.

If in doubt about how to put out a pesticide fire, call the fire brigade or the police before taking any action to control the fire.

In the event of a pesticide fire, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure all the people downwind of the fire are moved out of the path of smoke and kept well away.
  2. Keep a safe distance away in case of an explosion.
  3. Approach the fire only if it is safe to do so. This must be done from the upwind side or at right angles. Do not work downwind.
  4. If the fire is small enough for you to handle, stay upwind and use soft streams of water so that you do not tear open paper containers or break jars.
  5. Spray drums containing liquids with water to keep them cool.
  6. Remember that self-contained breathing equipment is essential for anyone likely to be exposed to pesticide fumes or smoke in a pesticide fire.
  7. Take care not to allow excess water used to fight a fire to run into creeks or a drinking water supply.
  8. Call the fire brigade for all chemical fires, to report the fire and to get advice.