Lisa Carpenter recently contacted me to tell me about the kids in a summer program where she volunteers. After learning about fire safety, the kids wanted to create a resource that could help others, and they did a tremendous job. There are all sorts of tips and resources on their website that will help you both in your home and barn. Please take a look at the results of their effort. It is definitely well worth your time. The page is Fire Safety – Before, During and After a Fire in Your Home.
If you would like to learn more about this program, you may contact Lisa Carpenter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Building a Farm Fire Safe Community” is a new program that was created because of concerns over the huge loss resulting from fires that have destroyed buildings, animals, vehicles, and equipment in Ontario, Canada. Bill Hunter, Fire Chief for the Township of Perth East and the Municipality of West Perth, in Ontario, Canada, invites you to learn about their program, which was developed in partnership with the Tradition Mutual Insurance Company, North Waterloo Farmers Mutual Insurance Company, the South Easthope Mutual Insurance Company and the Perth-Huron Insurance Brokers Association. This program is not just for Ontario farms, though. It is adaptable to any farm or stable situation and they are also planning a series of videos that will address farm fire safety topics. Take a look at this program, especially the excellent self-assessment form available for you to download. You can learn more about the program at the Perth East website at www.pertheast.ca or you can contact Chief Hunter at the fire department at 519-595-2800.
Following the loss of eight horses in a barn fire at Gerry Carwood’s barn near Keeneland Racetrack on May 9, 2014, Natalie Voss wrote an excellent article titled “Fire Safety in Barns is All About Planning Ahead” that was published in the May 25, 2014 issue of the Paulick Report. It will be well worth your time to read it at http://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/fire-safety-in-barns-is-all-about-planning-ahead/ .
Irvin Lichtenstein sent a Letter to the Editor of The Horse that was published in the June, 2012 issue, regarding an article, “Healthful Barns.” Mr. Lichtenstein signed the letter as Chief of Operations, Southeast Pennsylvania Search and Rescue, however, his experience over more than 40 years in the fire service is tremendous, so I’m delighted that he’s given his permission for me to reprint his letter, as follows, because his expert knowledge is so important to share:
“The article on page 50 of the May 2012 issue, “Healthful Barns,” leaves out the most important safety factors for horses in barns. In much of the country barns are not subject to building codes or inspection. This means that there is no guarantee that the structure will withstand high winds, snow loads, impacts, floods, or fire.
Barns are often huge lumber yards storing highly flammable bedding, feeds, and dusts. The lack of fixed fire detection and suppression systems frequently leads to disasters. When building a large barn, the added cost of thses systems is usually under $4 per square foot for both detectors and sprinklers. If you have an arena dust spray system, you already have the water supply for fire sprinklers. Also, when building a barn, build it to human occupancy standards; if there is no local code you can specify NFPA 150 or a similar best practice. And maintain the systems and good practices. Don’t put anything in a barn that doesn’t belong there.
Practice your response to an emergency until it becomes automatic, not panic.”
Michelle Staples, author of “Save Your Horse! A Horse Owner’s Guide to Large Animal Rescue” (www.saveyourhorse.com) sent this information from a student in one of the classes she teaches:
“At two of the larger barns I know, they did a safety audit as they used to mix baking soda with sand and keep it in 5 gallon pails throughout the building. The understanding was that baking soda also smothers a fire like sand but it is a lot lighter in weight and if a younger person or small adult discovers a fire, they can handle the weight of the baking soda/sand bucket. One hundred percent baking soda works well, too, but should be covered to protect it from moisture. Sand keeps the baking soda stable, but the bucket should also be covered.”