Horse barns are full of fire hazards. Now that show season is coming to a close, take some time to check your barn to make sure that you haven't overlooked any potential hazards.
Check all of your electrical outlets to make sure that they are up to code, and that power strips are not overloaded. If any outlets need to be updated, or if you find any outlets with signs of excessive wear or damage, call an electrician to have them repaired immediately.
If smoking isn't already banned in your barn, it needs to be: smoking puts your barn at risk of barn fire. Post signs and include no smoking in your barn rules to make visitors, boarders, and workers aware that smoking is prohibited.
Fire Extinguishers and Smoke Detectors
In the event that a fire should break out, it's vital that your fire extinguishers and smoke detectors and alarms are working. Check all of these devices, and replace batteries in the smoke detectors and alarms regularly.
Also make sure that fire extinguishers are placed strategically throughout the barn, that their positioning is obvious and accessible, and that they are all fully charged and within their expiration dates. You might make note of their expiration dates and include this in the barn calendar to be sure that you replace them on time.
Staff and Boarders
Your staff and boarders are the people who are present in the barn the most, so keeping them informed on fire safety is an important precaution. Make sure that all staff and boarders know where the fire extinguishers are located and have been instructed in their use. You might also discuss basic fire safety and the importance of knowing when a fire is beyond the control of a fire extinguisher with them.
Make sure that as much hay as possible is stored in a separate building from your barn. Hay is a huge fire hazard; store it a good distance away from your barn to prevent any fire that originates with the hay from spreading to the barn.
Halters and Equipment
Barn fires are often deadly. Be sure that every horse has a halter easily accessible on its stall door when the horses are stalled. Fire fighters recommend that halters be left on horses when in the stalls, as it makes it easier for a rescuer unaccustomed to working with horses to evacuate them. If you do leave a halter on overnight, be sure that it is a safety breakaway halter.
A barn fire is a horse owner's worst nightmare. Take every precaution to prevent one from occurring by checking for fire hazards regularly.
Image Source: flickr.com/photos/jeffweese/3866776250