Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winter Safety and Fire Prevention

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.


Mary Paine said...

Thanks for the important reminder on barn fires. I had a trainer once who used to smoke in the barn. It froze my heart every time I saw it thinking of what could happen. Needless to say, I moved on to another facility, even though he was an excellent trainer.

My thoughts are with the people who loved those fifteen horses. I caan't imagine the horror those poor animals faced.

Anonymous said...

I feel awful for the owners, too. A recent development in public safety is that first-responders like firefighters can train in large-animal rescue techniques. Some communities open up their training sessions so that barn owners and managers can prepare for the worst, too. I guess we all should have emergency plans, whether we have barns or not.