Dry conditions are sparking wildfires across the nation reminding us all to take fire-safety seriously. There are easy precautions you can take to keep your livestock safe. Here is a handy fireproofing guide to help remind you of those often overlooked hazards.
Keep your barn tidy, uncluttered and clean. Clear your barn of piles of scrap lumber, empty feed bags, gasoline cans, etc. These items may not seem like a big deal but can be easily flammable.
Make your barn a “no smoking” area. The tinniest ember from a cigarette can spark a fire in dry conditions. Enforce the ban by posting no-smoking signs in and around your barn.
Dry conditions are hazardous enough without added fuel. Store combustible materials (fuel, chemicals, paint and gas-powdered equipment) at least 50 feet from your barn.
Extension cords are usually unavoidable in the barn, but they also have the potential to be a fire hazard. Try to use only heavy-duty models designed for outdoors and replace them if they become damaged or wires are exposed.
Heat lamps and fans are an easy way to overload your circuit if you have too many plugged in at one time. Arrange them so they are being used as efficiently as possible, and disconnect whatever is not in use.
Install wire or metal cages to cover light bulbs in overhead lights and heat lamps. This will keep your animal from accidentally breaking them. If possible, replace all of your barn’s bulbs with plastic-coated safety bulbs and be sure all the bulbs you are using are the correct wattage.
Manure is one of the most often overlooked fire hazards. Don’t let it build up near your barn, as decomposing manure creates heat.
Vegetation is easy fuel for a fire. Keep all grass and weeds pulled or mowed down, especially in extremely dry conditions. If possible, try surrounding your barn with gravel instead of plants or grass.
Install Fire Extinguishers
Make sure your barn has at least one fire extinguisher. Extinguishers can easily be kept right inside the door or in the feed room. It is important that everyone that is at the barn regularly knows how to use them too.
Enhance Your Address
Many barns are located on rural roads that are not easily found or incorrectly mapped on GPS devices. Be sure that your street number is clearly visible from the road so that your local fire department can find you in case of emergency.