Let’s face it—disasters happen, including fires. You can’t change that, but you can be prepared. Since it only takes five to seven minutes between when a fire ignites and when it’s no longer safe to enter the barn and evacuate your horses, prevention is your best option.
Here are a few tips on how to fireproof your barn to avoid accidents and keep your animals safe!
Do Not Allow Smoking
This one should be obvious. A cigarette is essentially an open flame, which you should never allow in or near your barn. Put up “no smoking” signs inside and outside your barn, and enforce the rule.
Keep Electrical Systems Up to Date
The biggest cause of barn fires is the misuse of electricity. The barn needs adequate power and circuits on breakers to prevent overloads. Replace old wiring, ensure all electrical lines run through a metal conduit to prevent damage by rodents, and protect light bulbs with metal cages. Have enough outlets placed out of horse reach to eliminate the need for extension cords. Unplug clippers, vacuums, and other appliances when not in use, and don’t use portable heaters in the barn.
Install Fire Alarms
Cheap smoke detectors are no good in a barn because dust will set them off, but flame and thermal detectors and other good options are available. Have a professional install a system that’s linked to a central monitoring service. An alarm won’t help if no one is there to hear it.
Invest in a Sprinkler System
Adding a sprinkler system is a pricy upgrade, but it could save your horses and your facility by suppressing a fire almost as soon as it breaks out. Even if your alarm system automatically alerts the fire department, firefighters may take 15 minutes to reach the barn and get set up. In that time, your horses may be dead from smoke inhalation, and half your barn may be lost.
Clean Up Your Horse Barn
Sweep out cobwebs as they are flammable, and don’t let dust build up, especially around light fixtures, outlets, and switches, where a spark can ignite dust. Clear out clutter and trash in the barn, and rake up leaves and litter outside. If you live in a wildfire area, clear brush, trees, and tall grass to create a firebreak around the structure.
Buy Fire Extinguishers
Get 10-pound “all-purpose” ABC extinguishers and mount them where you can reach them quickly at barn entrances, at the electrical panel box, and midway down the barn aisle. Mark the locations with reflective signs, keep the extinguishers pressurized, and make sure everyone knows how to use them. People waste the filling or even spread the fire by using extinguishers incorrectly. Your local fire department can provide training.
Have Enough Water for Firefighters
Water supply can be an issue if you’re not connected to a municipal water system, as many wells don’t supply enough pressure to fight a fire, and a fire-related power failure will knock out the well pump. A fire pond is a good solution. Consult your fire department and state Department of Natural Resources for requirements.
Keep Manure in Check
Many horse owners don’t think of this, but decomposing manure generates heat. Avoid this fire hazard by ensuring manure doesn’t build up in your barn.
Now that you know how to fireproof your horse barn, it’s time to buy one! Deer Creek Structures has high-quality, long-lasting run-in sheds, aisle, and shedrow barns that can be custom-made for you and your animal’s needs.
Contact us at (254)546-2276 to learn more about our services and get yourself a beautiful barn for your property!