A recent report stated that electrical problems and human error accounted for 80% of all barn fires. A more disturbing statistic was that most barn fires are fully involved within 3-5 minutes. Fully involved means the fire is out of control and smoke production is at dangerous levels. This window will allow the rescue of ONE horse by haltering and leading him out to a paddock. It is recommended that multiple means of egress from a barn are present. The emphasis in removing horses from the barn should be to run them out of the barn and down a lane to a safe containment area. Just running them out of the barn is not a good idea. Horses panicked and running down a road are a danger to themselves and others.
Remember, emergency responders will be converging on your location making a loose horse an even greater threat. The fireman’s job is not to put out the fire or rescue horses. Their job is to contain the blaze, not to save the structure. Furthermore, most horses, already panicked by the fire, will not respond well to being approached by a fully equipped firefighter complete with oxygen mask. Firemen need to be able to access the farm structures without hindrance. Cars should not be parked in front of the barn. Fire engines are big heavy vehicles. They need a hard surface such as gravel or asphalt. If they try to cross grassy areas, they are subject to getting stuck.
Hay and shavings are both very combustible. They should be stored in a building outside with minimal amounts brought into the barn. Cobwebs and other debris should be removed frequently. Fires frequently start with the beginning of seasons whether it be winter or summer. Appliances should be checked for cord integrity and to make sure no dirt has accumulated around motors or heating elements.
Fire extinguishers should be placed just inside every entrance and checked monthly. Extinguishers by an entrance can be retrieved easily when entering rather than having to hunt for them.