Items

Forums
Horse Barn Fires and Design
 By Saferaphus   •   15th Mar 2016   •   1,509 views   •   0 comments
Horse Barn Fires and Design

January was a horrible month in the province Iím in, with several stable fires making headlines. The first was a stable of forty-two horses, mainly Standardbreds. Fire crews were helpless to rescue the horses trapped inside. Less than two weeks later another fire killed thirteen Arabian show horses. Where I live, itís said there are about 400 barn fires a year. Many are cattle barns, storage or hay barns. So they donít always get the media attention that horse stable fires get. Iíve written about the most common causes of barn fires before, and it always seems that the electrical system is the first thing investigated, especially if the fire happens during the winter. Water heaters, heat lamps, kettles, even hotdog makers can present hazards if not used properly, or if they malfunction. And, in some older barns, wire can become worn or rodent chewed. Inadequate wiring systems can also become overloaded, especially in winter. In the case of the Standardbred stable fire, the barn had electrical heating, which had been inspected in the fall for insurance purposes and itís been suggested that despite its passing grade, it was the source of the fire.

Related: My Horse and Eight Others Die in Tragic Barn Fire
Related: Most Common Causes of Barn Fires

There are many things you can do to prevent stable fires. Make sure your wiring is in good repair. Any electrical appliances or lighting should be made for outdoor use and used appropriately. Anything that involves the use of an open flame should be banned from stables such as heaters, torches or lanterns - and of course, smoking. But, despite all cautions, fires can still happen. And thatís prompting some animal welfare advocates to ask how we can not only prevent fires, but minimize damage, ensure human safety and save animals when it does happen.

Stable Design
Stable design is the first thing to consider. High roofs, poor ventilation, limited exits and construction materials and contents that are highly flammable all add to the fury of a fire. Once a barn fire has started, itís very difficult to douse. And once there are flames, itís often too late. In both recent horse stable fires, the blaze had already advanced so that no person could enter the building and the heat and pressure was blowing out the windows. Proper roof ventilation may actually slow down the progress of a fire. And, it may prevent the buildup of deadly fumes.

Many large barns donít have many entrances for horses and doors made for humans arenít easy to force a horse through in an emergency. So, the design of the buildings themselves needs to be looked at when it comes to fire prevention and rescue. Stall doors that open to the outdoors and multiple entrances can help when freeing animals in an emergency. And, all doors should be easy to open. Struggling with latches and sticky doors can waste valuable moments.

Many barns have no fire extinguishers or smoke detectors installed. You canít use the same type of detector as you have in your home, but there are units made specifically for barn use. And, all barns should have ABC fire extinguishers. ABC extinguishers contain a powdered chemical that can douse all types of fires. The ABC comes from Class A for trash, wood and paper, Class B for liquids and gases, and Class C for live electrical sources. So, this type of extinguisher would put out a fire that involved hoof ointments, straw and shavings or a frying overloaded circuit. One recommendation states that there should be extinguishers every fifty feet. Often overlooked is a functioning lightning rod, as lightning is responsible for many barn summer fires.

Ideally, although an expensive installation, stables should have overhead sprinkler or mist system in place. These systems will be activated when sensors detect high heat levels. They require an adequate water supply, which can be hard to maintain on many rural properties and during freezing winter months.

The stable yards need to be considered in an overall fire plan too. Laneways need to be clear and wide enough for emergency vehicles to enter. There should be a water source nearby. A burning loft will take thousands of gallons of water to bring into control. Tanker trucks may not be able to bring in enough water to fight a fire. And there should be secure pens or paddocks near to put horses in.

It would be almost impossible to design a stable that is completely fireproof, just as itís impossible to design our own homes so that fire is never a danger. But, planning and good design can mean greater safety for ourselves and our horses.
Horse News More PB Articles About:  fire,
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Saferaphus
 More News by Saferaphus
Drama Free Horse Boarding
20th Sep 2018   |   General   |   Saferaphus
Itís pretty bad when stables start actually advertising that they are drama-free. But much gossip and drama can be avoided by simply being upfront when you have a problem. Cryptic notes written on the blackboard and snide remarks ...
Online Horse Courses
16th Sep 2018   |   General   |   Saferaphus
Some horse courses are free. But, you get what you pay for, for the most part. With any online purchase, even courses, youíll want to check the credentials of the institution offering it and spend some time researching reviews by ...
2018 FEI World Equestrian Games Hurricane
11th Sep 2018   |   General   |   Saferaphus
The 2018 WEG is set to begin September 11, 2018 near Mill Springs, North Carolina. But, a weather emergency threatens the games. At this point, it's not known what the exact track of the hurricane will be, or how intense the storm ...
Buying The Perfect Pony
8th Sep 2018   |   General   |   Saferaphus
Pity the poor parent, not already in the horse world, that wants to buy their child a pony. A good number will just go buy the first pony they come across, perhaps one thatís been languishing in someoneís cow pasture for several y ...
How To Make Money With Horses
6th Sep 2018   |   General   |   Saferaphus
Lots of the jobs in the horse industry are lower paying, minimum wage or slightly higher. But there are jobs that will bring you a much higher wage. Most of them will require college, university or an apprenticeship, and perhaps s ...
Horse Mounted Martial Arts
1st Sep 2018   |   General   |   Saferaphus
Two separate skills are needed for mounted martial arts; horseback riding and mastery of the weapon that is being used, whether that be a spear, bow, sword or other weapon. For the most part, horses are guided using the leg aids ...
Buying a Carousel Horse
29th Aug 2018   |   General   |   Saferaphus
Even though I had a pony at home, I always wanted to ride on carousels, or merry-go-rounds and those mechanical horses that used to be beside the doors of every department and grocery store. A ride was rare however, because I did ...
Preventing Equine Obesity
25th Aug 2018   |   General   |   Saferaphus
Horses that are overweight are more likely to suffer health problems than horses that are on the lean side. Generally, you want to be able to feel, but not quite see your horseís ribs. There shouldnít be fat pads on either side of ...
  View All News by Saferaphus
 
©2002 - 2018   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
363 Members Online 240,286 Registered Members 2,473 News Articles 10,292,752 Unique News Article Views 224,704,999 Website Views