by American Stalls September 19, 2023
The thought of a barn fire can be one of the most horrific things that a horse owner can think of with the damage and loss fire can cause in mere moments, fire prevention and safety in the barn is imperative to minimizing risk. No matter how big or small the facility, there are steps that can be taken to prevent and prepare for a fire emergency. Here are a few simple reminders to consider when thinking about fire plans for your barn:
Fire Extinguishers – While the hope is that you would never need to use one, would you know how to in a critical situation? Having fire extinguishers in the barn is a great start but knowing how to use them is key. They should be easily accessible, up to date, and the appropriate size for the area. Check them annually and go over instructions for use so that they can be quickly deployed if needed. Never allow smoking or open flames in the barn. Store combustible or flammable items in a separate building whenever possible to mitigate fire risk, this includes storage of hay and shavings.
Egress Options – Having multiple exits in a barn is important. Access doors from each horse stall to the exterior of the barn can be very helpful in removing animals to safety when every second counts. Make sure all doors can be opened easily without obstruction and that hardware and latches are high quality and in good repair. Thoughtfully consider where equipment and vehicles are parked so that exterior barn exits are never blocked should animals need to be removed quickly or fire trucks need to gain access.
Up-to-Date Electric – Ensure electricity in the barn is up to date and up to code. Don’t think that just because you flip a switch, and it works that it is safe. In new construction, seek out safety options that can be installed from the start. In older barns, it may be time to have an electrician come out and update. Always use a licensed electrician and make sure that they have a good understanding of how the flow and function of your barn works on a day-to-day basis to provide you with the best safety options for your barn.
Look for Damage and Keep it Clean – When doing daily chores, always be on the lookout for any damaged cords or wires and replace them immediately. Keeping electrical cords out of the reach of horses is important, but also keeping an eye out for damage caused by rodents is imperative. Wiring that is encased in metal conduit can help prevent issues with chewed wires. Keeping the barn clean by removing dust and cobwebs on a regular basis can help prevent fire and allow you to see if there is any damage that you may not otherwise notice.
Preparedness for any situation starts with a good plan. Even a simple map with exits noted and locations of fire extinguishers can be a huge timesaver in case of emergency. Everyone who frequents your barn – family, clients, barn help – should at least know the basic fire plan for the barn. Reach out to your local fire department for more information and resources on fire prevention. Contact our team at American Stalls using our Contact Page to speak with one of our expert Project Managers on how to safely design your barn.