Barn Fire Safety Checklist

Barn fire prevention requires a strategy like no other. Use this checklist to protect both horses and humans in your facility.
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A couple of weeks ago I was on a conference call with several National Fire Protection Association experts in the fire safety arena discussing agricultural fire safety. Coincidentally, that evening I received an email from Michelle Staples, coordinator of the Large Animal Rescue newsletter and author of self-published “Save Your Horse: A Horse Owners Guide to Large Animal Rescue.” She had put together a Fire Safety Checklist for her website that people can use to ensure that their barn is as prepared as possible for this eventuality.

While editing the book for her I thought, “I need to provide this to readers immediately!” See the checklist at the bottom of this post and please share it with others in your community.

Barn-fire prevention requires a strategy like no other. You must be able to detect a fire with good quality smoke/flame/heat detectors; alert the response system; supress the flame threat (usually via sprinklers); and of course have a response such as the fire department arrive. Sprinklers are something that the fire department strongly recommends.

NFPA 150 is the Standard for Animal Housing Facilities (including horse barns) and is very specific about recommendations for sprinklers. Yet I know of very few barns that have them. Why don’t horse barns have this crucial safety equipment as standard items? My opinion is that it is because veterinarians and fire department personnel are the very last experts to be consulted by horse people when they build a barn! They use the expertise and advice of their next door neighbor, the Internet, a $10 barn building book at the local home improvement store, or engineer the entire thing themselves depending on the code enforcement in their jurisdiction

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Written by:

Rebecca Gimenez Husted, BS, PhD, is the primary instructor and president of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. Her first book, Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, was published in 2008. She is an internationally sought instructor in technical rescue techniques, procedures, and methodologies, and she has published numerous critiques, articles and journal submissions on horse safety, technical large animal rescue and horse handling issues.

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