Diligence and Details for Fire Safety In and Around Horse Barns

Newsdate: Mon 20 March 2017 – 6:00 am
Location: GUELPH, Ontario

Checklists and reminders can be your best friends when it comes to fire safety. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day chores and move seemingly less important items indefinitely to the "get around to it when time" list.

Preventing horse fatalities in barn fire

Preventing horse fatalities in barn fire

Barn fires are tragic events with approximately 40% of all barn fires caused by faulty electrical systems, so horse owners need to take the time to 'Stop, Think and Act'.
© 2017 by Barbara Sheridan New window.

When it comes to fire safety, there are some top tips that need daily, weekly and seasonally attention.  Equine Guelph has a free download to help you stop barn fires.

No one wants to think about tragedy and loss but prevention protocol needs to be followed with diligence.  Just one stray cigarette butt in an area with combustibles (like hay and shavings) is a recipes for disaster and it only takes an uninformed visitor. 

It would be hard to forgive forgetfulness if an unattended fan or heater started a fire.  An extinguisher that does not work in a time of need is just another great reason to make time for checklists and to ensure everyone at the stable has training on emergency procedures.

Details are easy to put off but prove critical in prevention.  Trimming of weeds, grasses and brush from around buildings and regular removal of rubbish are great examples.  Removing cobwebs regularly, sweeping up loose hay in the barn and storage areas and dusting are all good housekeeping to reduce those combustible fuel sources.

Those items for the seasonal and annual agenda are often the most neglected.  When was the last electrical wiring inspection and test for the smoke alarm?  A qualified electrician should evaluate your facility.  Your local fire department can help you by walking through your facility and provide recommendations for a pre-plan.

"Education, awareness, and planning are key to minimizing the risk of fire," says Victor MacPherson, District Chief of the Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department.

Barn fires are tragic events with potential for human and animal loss of life or injuries and /or property loss.  Approximately 40% of all barn fires are caused by faulty electrical systems," says Dean Anderson, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services. He suggests to take the time to 'Stop, Think and Act.'

Anderson adds, "This simple approach asks farm operators to STOP, reflect about what is the worst that could happen; what the impacts of a fire would mean to your operations. THINK about what you could do to prevent an event from happening.

Have you talked to your local fire department, do you have an emergency plan, does everyone know who to call, do they know the plan to move livestock? ACT to ensure an event will not happen. 

Do a walk-around inspection, ensure the maintenance and housekeeping are up to expectations. Taking a few moments now could save a lot of grieve in the future."

Visit EquineGuelph.ca for more resources on the Barn Fire Safety web page sponsored by Heartland Farm Mutual. http://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/fireprevention.php 

Subscribers of Canadian Thoroughbred magazine, Trot magazine and Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario (QROOI) members recently received a free copy of Equine Guelph's handy barn fire checklist.  Download yours at Equine Guelph.ca from the Barn Fire Safety healthcare tool

Story by:  Jackie Bellamy-Zions

About the author

The news team at EquiMed is dedicated to keeping the horse community informed about the latest developments related to horse health and the horse industry from a community, state, national and global and political perspective.

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