Any of us who have been on barn fires know that most result in surround and drown from the get go, especially if this barn is used to house hay or straw. But do we really think about what else may be in there?
In the rural parts of the country, we are called out on barn fires at least once a year. Some may be empty and some may be used to store equipment in. Then there are the hidden dangers. I'm talking about fertilizers, pesticides, and fuel tanks. It is very important for us as responders to know what "farmer John" has stored in his barn. If at all possible, try to preplan these barns and get as much info as possible before an emergency happens. Most farmers are more than willing to allow you the knoweledge of what types of chemicals or equipment is stored in their barn.
As with any type of fire, extreme care must be exercised when fighting a barn fire. There are many chemicals used in the agricultural industry that don't agree when mixed with eachother or water. Many of these chemicals create an exhilation hazard when in contact with water or when ignited. There may also be fuel tanks stored in the barn for farm machinery or other vehicles. Two years ago my department was called out for a barn fire that housed race cars, racing fuel and numerous quarts of motor oil. This was something we hadn't counted on. Fortunately for us, the racing fuel never ignited. Another hazard to us is the farm machinery itself. There are the fuel tanks on the tractors, the tires, and sharp edges on other types of machinery.
These are just a few points of safety. If anyone else would like to take it further, please do. I'm just trying to get the ball rolling on something that most of us don't think about until we are toned out for it.
Take care and stay safe!!!!