Preventing Fire in your Horse Barn

August 24, 2008 (published) | October 10, 2016 (revised)

One of the most devastating events that can occur is a barn fire that causes losses of livestock.  Mike Keenan, a consultant with an insurance company, indicates in National Hog Farmer that the first thing to do is isolate all animal housing areas in barn.  It is important to limit where combustible products and ignition sources are stored and keep those away from animal housing areas.  Equipment that increases risk of a barn fire are power washers, generators, and utility rooms.  Because of this risk, many producers are going to power washers and generators that are located outside of the barn so if a fire does start, the animals and barn itself would be spared.  Lots of hog barns, and horse barns at large ranches, have clothes dryers and it is critical to make sure the vents are cleaned regularly.  It is not a good idea to have employees place clothes in the drier the last thing and then leave for the day.  

Electrical panels are a common source of fires, especially when they are inside a livestock barn because gases from the barn can corrode the panels and start a fire.  Many insurance companies will check your barn with a thermal camera that can indicate hot areas in the wiring, so you can know you have an issue before an electrical problem develops.  Also, it is not a good idea to store tractors or lawn mowers in your livestock barn.  Recently in central Texas a farmer parked his lawn mower in his implement barn and a fire started soon after, destroying over $100,000 of equipment and the barn.  Luckily, this was not a livestock barn but you can see how quickly a fire can start. Separate barns or isolated storage areas are best.

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