I am drawn back to this topic because it is so important and frankly, there will not be enough time or space to fully discuss all that probably needs to be said.
Rather that try and encapsulate the whole subject, I want to focus on some basic fire risk management items.
- BEFORE you build a barn, arena, hay shed, workshop etc., consult with a contractor who knows how to build the structure with fire prevention in mind.
- Focus your design on safety – not just aesthetics. Most agricultural buildings are NOT subject to the same code for fire as other types of commercial structures?
- Install wiring in non –corrosive conduit and PLEASE use steel (animal proof) covers for light bulbs (I owned a horse once who thought it was a game to try and eat the lights – really)
- Get rid of cobwebs
- Keep aisles and doorways clear of debris
- Install and maintain smoke and heat sensors
- Extension cords should only be used as a temporary connection and should never be left unattended for any length of time.
- Store your hay, feed and bedding in a separate building (100 feet away) or if absolutely necessary, only store a few days supply in the barn.
- Install and maintain ABC fire extinguishers (10 lb minimum)
- Train staff about what to do if there is a fire.
- Post 911 fire address by the phone and a script to be share with emergency responders (telling them in advance of their arrival that there are horses, a pond etc. may make a huge difference)
- Train boarders how to respond if it is them that are present in a fire situation
- Keep ropes on the outside of each stall to be used in an emergency
- Contact the local firehall to have them come with staff and equipment to “practice” at your location