Preventing Barn Fires

Barn fires are, sadly, the leading disaster that horse owners encounter.? Fire prevention is key so, first and foremost, prohibit smoking on the property – a carelessly discarded cigarette can spark a fire in a matter of seconds.? Don?t use appliances, such as space heaters, without supervision.? Conduct routine inspections of your electrical systems.? Do not store flammable materials near the barn, and also keep machinery, which can spark, a safe distance from the horses.? Finally, ensure that you store hay only when it is dry, as wet hay has been known to spontaneously combust when tightly stacked.? Because hay can be such a flammable material, it is always best to store it away from the barn wherever possible.

It is also important to be prepared for the potential of a fire.? Have emergency contacts posted at the entrances to the barn, and include the barn?s address should a 911 call be required.? Also make sure that the address is clearly visible from the street.? Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and have an evacuation route, which is also clearly communicated to all barn members, available for each stall.

Should a fire break out, immediately call 911 if your region has this service.? Do not attempt to enter the barn unless it is safe to do so.? If you do, start evacuating the horses that are closest to the exit.? Use a halter and leadrope, and do not blindfold unless absolutely necessary.? Evacuate each horse to an area that is far enough from the fire to be safe, but close enough for easy access, and do not turn them loose as they may run back into the barn.? Even if your horse appears uninjured, have them checked by a veterinarian in case of smoke inhalation, and be prepared for stress reactions such as colic.

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