How I can make my barn less likely to catch fire?


This is definitely a topic that all barn owners, boarders, and horse lovers should be aware of.  Horse barn fires can have lot of sources - human and otherwise, and therefore the list of things to look out for is LONG… but let’s tackle it. 


Make sure your fire extinguisher is designed to put out barn fires!  


Reduce the chance a spark or heat will ignite dust, hay, or bedding:

-No smoking in or around the barn or on the property or maybe even the block.


-No motorized vehicles in or around the barn.  Sparks, engine heat, backfires and even exhaust can be hot enough to spark a fire.  


-No naked wires.  All wiring should be in metal conduit.  Have a certified electrician check your wires, outlets, etc.  Make sure you have an actual circuit breaker. 


The wires in this barn are securely covered with metal conduit.  Keeps dust, bugs, rodents, nosy horses out of trouble.  You should have it all inspected regularly, just in case.


-Outlets are covered and you have GFI outlets near water sources.


Move things around:


-Hay and bedding should ideally be stored in another building, far away from the barn if possible.  (Hay can combust all by itself….)


-Fertilizers, chemicals, paints, and cleaners belong in a shed far away from the barn. 


-Move the cobwebs and dust out of the barn.


-If you have wooden structures like railroad ties around your barn (perhaps for the carrot garden), try using a concrete stone instead as RR ties can accelerate combustion.


-Move brush away from the barn.  


-Store gasoline containers for your tractor and other farm equipment far from the barn.


-Vent a dryer away from any dust or bedding or hay.  Keep the vent clean.


Use covers on switches and outlets!


Add some stuff to your barn:


-Heat sensors can be good in a barn.  Smoke detectors can get confused with dust.


-Lightening rods can save your barn by channelling a lightening strike to the ground. 


-Sprinkler systems are a great idea, too, and many barns can be retrofitted with them.  


-Have charged up extinguishers in the barn, know how to use them, and be sure they are the general purpose ABC type.


Practice evacuations.  


-Make sure your fire department knows how to access your farm.  What gate or driveway, where to park, how to turn around, where things are located, etc.  I guarantee they will be happy to come over and check things out.


Does the Fire Department know how to get to your farm?


-Make sure your horses are fine if approached in the dark, with flashlights, by scary looking people.  Practice at night by wearing tacky hats, weird jackets that make noise, and carry flashlights.  


-If you choose to blindfold and lead out, make sure your horses will do that.  Remember that they will be in full panic mode during a fire.  


-Have a plan/location of where to put your horses once they are out of the barn.  This could be paddocks or a neighbor.  


-Have reliable phone service so you can call 911. Make sure the barn address is posted near the phone. 



What ideas have I forgotten?