Prior to the early 1900s it wasn’t uncommon to find animals running free in the backyard or even inside their owner’s home. But as years went on, families have done their best to provide more sustainable shelter for animals.
While it is nice to give your equine animals quality shelter, it’s also nice to make sure their new shelter is safer than the backyard. Each year hundreds of thousands of animals die in wood barn fires. Based on research, in almost every incident, the fires were preventable. Fire prevention is actually a low-cost measure, especially when compared to the loss of your custom wood barn and animals.
There are two simple rules that will drastically help keep your wood barn and animals from meeting a fiery demise.
Rule #1: Good Housekeeping
As a barn owner, the rake and push broom are probably the best fire prevention tools you have. Simply keeping things picked up can seriously prevent tragedies. For example, the afternoon sun shining on an old piece of glass, on a dusty window ledge could cause a fire. If the glass was in the garbage and the window ledge had been dusted – there would have been no fire, property loss, emotional distress of losing your animals, etc.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness:
- Keep walkways and aisles un-obstructed.
- Use metal garbage cans with tight fitting lids.
- Tidy up loose hay, wood shavings and debris.
- Don’t let dust or cob-webs pile up.
Rule #2: No Open Flames
This is probably the most obvious, yet most ignored rule to fire safety in wood barns. The most common source of this are matches – especially with smokers. Implementing a no smoking rule is the best idea for any wood barn owner. Posting “No Smoking” signs around the barn and verbally warning visitors that smoking is not allowed would be wise.
Smokers aren’t the only cause for open flames in a barn. Wood barns with singular water pipes to individual stalls can sometime freeze up. I know many barn owners that admit to using a lighter to heat up the spigot in such cases. If you’re horse came by to check things out, with a mouthful of hay – you might have a serious fire and burn issue on your hands. Try pouring hot water over the spigot instead.
For wood barns in cold locations, where you just gotta have a wood stove burning. Consider building a barn with stables that allow open or canvas-curtained rear exits for your horses or livestock. It’d be a miserable experience to know your animals were trapped in the stall while your wood barn burned to the ground.
Along these lines, be sure to post a sign outside your wood barn that says how many horses or other animals in stalls and pens (including your barn cats and dogs.) Give a copy of this info the local fire department too!