Last Thursday there was a boarding barn fire in Tacoma that killed 15 horses. The owners tried to get into the barn to rescue the horses. They could hear them inside, but the smoke was too thick and the heat too intense. The barn had a heat detector but not a smoke detector, as the dust in the barn had set it off too often. The cause of the barn fire was determined to be a space heater in the tack room. It had fallen over and ignited some items next to it. The pole barn, with wooden beams and stalls, was filled with 5 tons of hay.
You can read the details here:
Now's the time to check out your own barn for safety from barn fires. I can't think of a worse thing to happen to our horses than to die in a barn fire.
Please make sure if you have a space heater in your tack room that it is the type that turns off when it's tipped over. I'm not an expert on this, but at my barn, we use the old-filled, radiator style space heaters, which seem to be me to be the safest kind.
Check your wiring for any sign that a rodents may have chewed through it. Keep your tack room free of dust and keep items away from the heater. Even a heater that turns off when it falls over could ignite something near it before it cools down.
Of course, the biggest and most obvious: No smoking around the barn.
I found several good articles on barn fire prevention, which certainly tell it better than I would:
Penn State Fire Safety in Horse Stables
WSP Fire Safety for Barns
Rutgers Fire Prevention and Safety Measures around the Farm
Equisearch Preventing Barn Fires
As far as my weight challenge, no change this week, but that's not bad for this time of year. Also, I rode my horse three times this week, and I wrote about 5000 words.
Also check out my Holiday contest. You could win a book by one of the Equestrian Ink authors.