9 Barn-Fire Safety Tips
Many barn hazards are related to fires or potential fires, and for good reason: Fire is every horse owner’s worst nightmare. Your stalled horse is particularly vulnerable, because barns are packed full of combustibles. Here are nine lifesaving barn-fire safety tips. • Ban smoking. Make your barn a “no smoking” area — no exceptions. Post no-smoking signs in high-traffic areas in and around your barn, and enforce the ban. • Clean up. Keep your barn tidy, uncluttered, and clean. Eliminate piles of scrap lumber, half-used bags of grass seed, empty feed bags, and gasoline cans. • Remove flammables. Store combustible materials (hay, bedding, fuel, chemicals, paint, and gas-powered equipment) at least 50 feet from your barn. • Watch fuel and fumes. Refuel your equipment outside your barn, and be careful when you drive your tractor, mower, or other machinery through it; exhaust fumes are combustible, too. • Manage manure. Don’t let manure build up in or near your barn, and keep the manure pile as far from your barn as possible. (Decomposing manure creates heat.) • Manage vegetation. Keep your grass mowed and your weeds pulled; consider surrounding your barn with gravel instead of plantings. • Install extinguishers. Mount an all-purpose Dry Chemical ABC fire extinguisher just inside each barn door, plus one in the tack room. Keep the fire extinguishers fully charged, and make sure that everyone at your barn knows how to use them. • Enhance your address. Be sure that your street number is clearly visible from the road so that your local fire department can find you in case of emergency. • Take action. If you notice a small fire despite your prevention efforts, call the fire department immediately, then grab your fire extinguisher. Think PASS: Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep. Pull the pin, aim the nozzle at the base of the flames, squeeze the trigger, and sweep the extinguisher from side to side, covering the fire area. After the fire is out, recharge or replace the extinguisher.