Barn Fire Prevention Tips Shared by Readers

More than 640 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "What fire prevention measures do you employ around your barn?"

results of poll on barn fire prevention

Results were as follows: 

  • A smoking ban 91.64% (592)
  • Regular cobweb removal 69.50% (449)
  • Hay/bedding storage away from barn 41.80% (270)
  • Other (please explain below) 24.15% (156)
  • Lightning rods on the barn 23.22% (150)
  • Sprinkler systems 5.26% (34)

(Multiple selections allowed.)
Readers shared what they are doing to prevent barn fires in the comments below.

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  • fire extinguishers
  • All barn outlets are GFI outlets. I try to use insulated containers for water in winter.
  • Keep barn floor raked to prevent accumulation of hay wastes.
  • do not keep gas or the like in or around barn
  • watching out for wires that could be damaged by the animals bad hay or grain fire detecters and ex
  • Fire extingishers and water hoses.
  • All metal buildings. Keep it neat and clean. Hoses (50") always attached to spigots next to barns.
  • fire extinguishers around the barn
  • no electricity in barn
  • keep aisles clear and sweep up hay
  • Turn off main power to barn during intense rain or thunderstorms
  • also have fire extinguisher, only flamables are stall wood shavings sprayed w/water every day
  • fire extinguishers
  • Hoses at barn as well as waterers. Rules everyone is familiar with.
  • Keeping the barn well swept
  • My scariest worry -- would love a barn with no electric.
  • no smoking signs everywhere
  • A clean barn is a safer barn.
  • keeping the electrical wiring in top shape and insulated. teach horses to get out by others doors
  • cool all vehicls on pavement NEVER stack wet hay in or near the barn unplug EVERYTHING
  • No wood
  • fire extinguishers Fire detectors & intercom
  • Fire Hydrants - one in hayloft and one on main level of barn
  • REMOVE EXTENSION CORDS
  • Clear shrubbery around bldg
  • dust tight outlets, no extension cords, fire extinguishers, vegetation control
  • Multiple fire extinguishers in the barn and train staff/boarders how to use them!
  • fire extinguinshers, wiring in metal casing
  • alleys cleaned and swept,gfis on all outlets,pwr wash barn 2 x year top 2 bottom
  • All electrical wiring encased in metal conduit, heated stall waterers cleaned thoroughly under bowl
  • Check electric wiring. Keep trash picked up. No smoking in the barn area.
  • all electrical wiring is in pipe and not hidden in the walls
  • Fire extinguishers
  • I don't care about losing a barn. All my horse's stalls have 2 exits.
  • Metal non flamable barn, fire extinguishers in barn aisle
  • Always do our best to keep the barn area clean by removing debris.
  • I don't keep my horses in my barn
  • have metal barn, not wood. horses are not locked in, can go out at will
  • water and fire extinguisher within close reach
  • electric in conduit, no cords, safety covers on elec boxes, vermin control
  • All electric wire in conduit.
  • Keep electric turned off when not in barn
  • 2 fire extinguishers
  • Fire Exstingushers at both ends of the barn and in tack room
  • electric area kept clean
  • use hardi-plank instead of wood boards on outside of barns
  • hydro off when no one in stable
  • multi fire extinguishers invarious locations, no gasoline containers, all electrical used have thre
  • Commercial fans that shut off automatically if they get overheated.
  • my 3 horses have exits to a larger area away from their stalls
  • Weeding/no bushes; regular sweep up/clean up in/around barn; check wiring; no electric tape/heaters
  • fire extinquisher available
  • All electrical in metal conduit and stall lights with metal protectors around bulbs
  • presence of fire extuinguishers
  • smoke alarm
  • Non-wood barn
  • is roaring painful
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Fireproof paint on all surfaces inside and out, cement board siding, metal roof.
  • Keep aisles clear, water source nearby, caution with hay storage as separate storage isn't possible
  • Electrical in conduit and away from horses; maintain defensible spaces
  • building layout given to FD w/preplan. Annual dinner visit for FD
  • keep aisles clean, fire extinguisher
  • also fire extinguishers in barn
  • Fire extinguishers, electric in conduit
  • brush clearance & smoke ban are big concern; brush fire major prob; 2 stall, in/out setup for hor
  • metal barn, open stalls, don't use bedding - dirt floors, used for feeding only
  • It scares me, that's why my horses can go in/out 24/7 bc I don't want them to be trapped inside.
  • Surge protectors/circuit breakers on electrical cords
  • heat sensors with auto connect to fire dept
  • fire extinguishers every 5th stall, both crossties and tack room 8 total
  • storing accelerants away from the barn
  • fire extinguishers in handy locations; hoses attached at all hydrants
  • Hoses near by
  • handy fire extinguishers
  • daily checks and common sense
  • not a prevention method - but fire extinguishers readily available
  • No fuel containers or vehicles are kept in the barn.
  • Common sense
  • fire extinguishers
  • remove all old hay and anything else in the aisles and the stalls that could be of a hazard.
  • Fire extinguisher mounted by the door
  • water hose
  • Fire Extinguishers & hoses at ea. corner--lightning rare here.
  • All wires in protective conduits and GSI outlets
  • no barn
  • making sure electrical devices are SAFE and trying to not leave anything turned on/plugged in
  • all electrical in conduit
  • we have smoke detectors in each stall.
  • no heat lamps or heated buckets or tank deicers
  • Horses are not housed in the barn, they can get away.
  • all wiring in aluminum conduit; metal cages around all light bulbs. No heating coils or heaters,
  • check wiring in barn regularly
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Keep eveerything as clean as possible
  • Fire extinguishers in barn
  • Never leave barn lights on.
  • fire exstinginger at each exit and in the middle of the barn. all electric wires in conduit pipe.
  • I use wire tht is twice as heavy as needed for lights and outlets. Outlets are GFI.
  • keeping barns neat and clutter free, fire extingishers
  • All electrical wires in conduit
  • My horses are never locked in the barn.
  • hoses hooked up to water through out the barn for easy access
  • GFCI on anything plugged in
  • Check the cigarette butt at the door. No ifs, ands or butts... And unplug stuff overnight.
  • Fire extinguisher, dutch doors for outside access from runouts on all stalls
  • Brush cleared from around property perimeter; fire drills so horses know exit routes
  • extinguishers
  • stalls with 24/7 access to outside.
  • Fire extinguisher in barn-phone in barn if need to call 911
  • Fire extinguishers at all entrances
  • we do not store large quanities of hay in the barn with the horses
  • I do the best I can to remove cobwebs on my own but it's too big a job for just one person.
  • My barn is a run-in shed. I never leave the lights on.
  • Redundant electrical shutoff - GFI breakers and power to barn unplugs at house.
  • covers on all light bulbs
  • fire extinguishers near all exits
  • I keep a charged fire extinguisher handy, cut down long grass/shrubs near barn
  • Regular check of electric fence/outlets...
  • A good friends of mine just lost her HUGE barn in an electrical fire, so i always check electricity!
  • make sure there is no ladder brush near barn
  • I wish I could store my hay elsewhere- no room.
  • all water spouts have hoses-just in case!
  • barn is made of metal and fire extinguihers at the end of each barn aisle
  • WE have several fire extinguishers in the barn. We invited our local fire dept for a farm tour
  • electrical outlet covers(plug in things) to keep bugs out
  • Have a separate feed room/foaling stall. All others in pasture.
  • fire extinguishers
  • Barn is built of poured concrete, all wiring is in conduit & all outlets are waterproof.
  • keep aisleways etc. clean and free of garbage/flammables.
  • .also lights and elecreical wires in tubing, fire extinquisher
  • electricity is turned off completely when we aren't there
  • After our horrific fire (all horses saved) we added special smoke detectors, heat sensors, and pond.
  • fire extingusihers, mutli water sources and hoses. keep barn clean and free of fire hazards.
  • GFI outlets and make sure hay is cured and dry before storing
  • fire extinguisher in barn and fire alarms
  • Several water hoses. Firebreak of cleared land between barn and burnable vegetation.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • hard wired smoke and fire alarm that calls fire dept.
  • Where my horse is currently boarded- none of these are used. Thank goodness she isn't in the barn!
  • smoking ban,lighting rods,sprinkler system
  • fire extinguishers
  • Husband an electrician so regular checks to electrical in old barn
  • Hoses always connected to a water source, fire exstingushers available, phone handy, fire dept. 1/4
  • Fire extinguisher in barn
  • Fire extinguisher!!!!
  • I had a metal barn constructed by Barnmaster--very easy to clean walls with vinegar and water.
  • fresh fire extinguisher on hand
  • Horses have 24/7 in/out access to their stalls. I keep the place neat
  • Horse are NOT locked up in a barn
  • God forbid.
  • No barn, just a shed for hay and tack, run in for horses
  • fire extinguisher mounted in barn
  • We have a smoke detector system that's wired into the house
  • I keep my ponies in dry lot with metal shelters or on pastures
  • 5 lb fire extinguishers at every exit
  • Well non of the above applies at our barn so that's pretty bad.
  • We do not stall our horses except in extreme weather.
  • fire ararms and extinguishers
  • all wiring exposed; power to lights off at box; own line for pump hot box
  • Fire extinguishers, chemicals kept away from the barn, aisles clear, two access doors to each stall
  • fire extinquishers
  • barns are made of metal and canvas roofs, once burned will let smoke excape stopping dieing from smo
  • all electrical appliances not in use are unplugged. Water heater turned off.
  • we do not have stalled horses so not as much worry.
  • Fire alarm wired to house
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • We allow no smoking, there are no flammable liquids in our tack room, we check electric wires.
  • Plus 2 fire extinguishers, water source in the barn and also near the barn outside.
  • horses not penned in at night
  • All electric wire housed in cable so no mice can chew;no space heaters, plugs pulled when not in use
  • no electricity in the barn
  • absolutely no smoking in the barn! Try to keep aisle way clear and swept and loose hay picked up.
  • smoke detectors
  • We are also thinking about installing a sprinkler system
  • central station fire alarm
  • turn off breakers to barn
  • fire alarms & raking & sweeping aisles of debri helps as well
  • smoke dectors and fire ext.
  • unplug everything when there isn't anyone around.
  • fire extinguisher
  • keep fire extinquishers handy
  • Keeping flammable objects separated from barn
  • fire extinguishers, fire drills, alarm goes directly to fire dept
  • My horses have the option of run-in & are only confined for injury.
  • Concrete block buildings.
  • It is built mainly of steel

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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