After experiencing a rash of barn fires this summer, the Perth East Fire Department in Ontario contacted us with a safety warning for horse owners. The following is a list of fire prevention tips:
- Do not allow smoking in or around barns or near any flammable farm materials.
- Situate manure piles at least 10 metres away from barns to reduce the chance of combustion.
- Ensure hay and straw are properly dried before storing it in the barn and monitor its temperature.
- Keep dust and cobwebs to a minimum.
- Regularly check all appliances, wiring, electrical equipment and heat-producing materials and equipment to ensure everything is in safe, working order.
- Repair/replace any frayed or damaged wiring as soon as it is identified.
- Extension cords should only be used temporarily and should be removed after use. Eliminate the need with professionally installed outlets.
- Have regular TSSA/ESA inspections conducted.
- Never refuel engines inside a building or while the engine is running or hot.
- Park equipment/vehicles indoors only after they have cooled down.
- Ensure all buildings and vehicles have fire extinguishers and that everyone who frequents your property knows how to use them.
- Question and/or remove unknown, unlicensed and unauthorized persons from the premises.
- Develop and practice an evacuation plan (this includes human and livestock evacuation).
- Hang halters and leads on stall doors, should evacuation be required.
Additional measures include the installation of:
- lightning rods
- sprinkler system
- hose cabinets
- on-site water storage
- video surveillance
- monitored fire alarm system
- a separate building for hay and straw storage
Don’t be afraid to contact your local fire department for help and advice. Most have fire prevention and/or public education personnel that can work with you to address your questions. Many will do so for a reasonable fee or at no charge at all.