California Riding Magazine • May, 2013

The Three Ps:
Plan, Prepare & Prevent!
The barn design phase is the time to plan for the safety of the horses who will call what you've designed home.

Plan
• Design and build using steel. Steel is a far less flammable material than wood.
• Design your barn with plenty of exits for quick evacuation if needed.
• Locate your barn for easy access on your property for a fire engine as well as access to your barn in the dark because the fire department will turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock.
• Locate your barn close to your best water source.
• Place fire extinguishers at each entrance, and in the tack and feed rooms. Make sure they are checked and charged annually.
• Install a fire detection system to notify you in case of a fire and have the system attached to an outside noisemaker that can be heard at your house and the neighbors.
• A list of emergency numbers should be compiled and placed at various locations throughout your property.

Prepare
• Develop an evacuation plan.
• Have holding pens or an area where your horses can be confined when removed from your barn.
• Train your horses to deal with noise, bright lights, etc., so they are not afraid of the firemen.
• Keep on hand the following - cell phone, flashlights, batteries, and portable generators.

Prevent
• Store hay and straw in a separate structure if possible. If that is not an option, there are some things that can be done to lessen the fire risks:
1. Put the hay on pallets and stack bales loosely so air can circulate throughout the pile.
2. Have hay in multiple small stacks instead of a single large stack.
3. Check hay frequently to make sure it is not getting wet.
4. Move bales of older hay to the front when buying new hay to store.
5. At least twice a year, clean hay area completely and thoroughly.
• Keep your barn clean - sweep up shavings and hay and keep the barn clear of cobwebs.
• Situate the manure pile away from the barn in case of spontaneous combustion.
• Store flammable items (i.e. gasoline, propane and lawnmowers) elsewhere.
• Clean up weeds, dry shrubs and trash from around the exterior of the barn regularly.
• Faulty wiring and connections are the leading causes of barn fires. Have an electrician inspect them regularly.
• And, last but surely not least, no smoking in the barn!

The best time to think about fire safety is before you build your barn. Fire prevention takes a comprehensive approach - from identifying the hazards to taking every possible precaution. When you incorporate fire prevention into the building of your new barn, you can buy yourself some peace of mind and maybe save on your insurance premiums as well.

Article provided by Choice Barns, Inc. For more helpful articles, visit www.choicebarns.com