Barn fires have the potential to cause a high number of injuries and mortalities among livestock. It is important to take precautionary steps to prevent a barn fire from occurring on your operation.
Preventing these types of fires is difficult, often more so than preventing fires in homes, offices, schools or other public buildings. The best course of action is to remove as many items as possible that can act as ignition or fuel for the fire, though this may not be possible with materials such as straw or wood construction.
Below are some effective steps you can take to protect your livestock and prevent a fire in your barn.
- Hire a licensed electrician for all electrical work.
- Have a licensed electrician do regular inspections, and correct any problems they find.
- Only use extension cords temporarily.
- Run electrical wires through conduits.
- Put cover plates on electrical boxes and explosion cages on light bulbs.
- Perform regular maintenance of your facility, especially any electrical work.
- Use electrical equipment that is suitable to environments with high humidity, corrosive liquid and vaporous areas.
- If needed, purchase good-quality heat lamps and have them installed as permanent equipment.
- If needed, dedicate a smoking area well away from the barn.
- Place fire extinguishers in good working order at all barn entrances, as well as some in other areas within the barn.
- Let recently used equipment cool off before returning it to storage.
- Test hay temperature for spontaneous combustion.
- Keep electrical equipment free of cobwebs and dust.
- Install temperature detector and smoke detector systems with a telephone alert.
- Ask your local fire department to do an on-site inspection.
- Look for sources of ignition.
- Choose gas or space heaters that are appropriate for your barn.
- Clean and remove dust regularly.
- Test your backup generator regularly and ensure it has at least eight hours of fuel.
With information provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development