An innovative partnership project between Kent Fire & Rescue Service and the NFU will ensure that rural fires can be tackled quickly during an emergency.

Last summer, during the prolonged dry spell, Kent fire-fighters dealt with an unprecedented number of fires in the countryside. Following a farm fire, Kent NFU member Guy Eckley, of Staplehurst, contacted Kent Fire & Rescue Service (KFRS). He notified them about an adaptor fitting that allows fire crews to draw water from a bulk water tank on a farm and fight a field fire. Now Kent Fire & Rescue Service has fitted its fire engines with these and is working with Kent farmers to map emergency water supplies on farms.

Kent NFU chairman Toby Williams of Stanhill Farm, Wilmington, near Dartford, said: “This initiative could save valuable time in the initial phase of fighting rural fires, by ensuring that a sufficient amount of water is immediately available to extinguish a fire before it spreads out of control.

“This fantastic idea is now being implemented across Kent and the Medway. Kent NFU is asking farmers to support this project by mapping their on-farm water supplies through the Country Eye app. We’d encourage as many as possible to sign up now before the main harvest period when there is a heightened risk of fire.”

Kent NFU member Guy Eckley, of Staplehurst, last summer shared a photo of an adaptor that his friend in East Anglia uses – it had allowed Cambridgeshire fire fighters to connect a fire engine to a farm water supply. This idea has now been replicated by Kent Fire & Rescue Service’s operational support manager Craig Lloyd-Cowtan – [see video –]. Mr Lloyd-Cowtan worked with Mr Eckley and another farmer Alan Clifton-Holt, of Burmarsh. They discovered that the vast majority of bulk water supplies on farms across Kent and the Medway had the same coupling and Mr Lloyd-Cowtan was able to gain approval for KFRS fire appliances to be fitted with these adaptors.