Just as in our homes, the same fire prevention awareness should be taken in barns to prevent loss of life and livelihood. The tips below can assist in preventing a fire.
- Use Agricultural Grade Exhaust Fans in The Barn: The number one cause of barn fires in the summer months is the use of a household box fan. These fans are not equipped with sealer motors, allowing dust and debris to get into the motor’s housing. When the motor heats up, they catch the small particles of typical barn dust on fire, melting the plastic which can result in a fire. They are also not properly equipped with heavy electrical covering around wire, which increases the risk of overheating.
- Good Housekeeping: Keep hay chaff swept up and out of passageways and doorways. Dust and fine debris can be a potential hazard. Rags, cobwebs and other peripherals can equally spread a fire throughout the barn rapidly.
- Hay Storage: When possible, store your hay in a separate building from your barn. Only accept cured hay. Heat generated in the curing process can ignite hay chaff. Clover and first-cutting alfalfa seem to particularly be slow in curing. The same concern applies to damp grain, wood shavings and saw dust. If you see slow rising smoke or smell smoke coming from these sensitive areas of the barn, call your fire department immediately!
- Keep All Electrical Devices in Good Proper Working Order: Be certain that all electrical outlets, light switches and cords are out of the reach of curious animals. By installing outlet covers and keeping all electrical receptacles covered at all times you can reduce the threat of electrical fires. Cover all wiring with metal conduit. This will protect it from corrosion or gnawing by common barn rodents such as rats and mice.
- Install Lightning Rods: The installation of lightning rods on your barn can reduce the risk of fire. Lightning can cause a fire by striking the roof or hay loft. These lightening strikes can cause a smoldering fire for hours before it breaks out into a devastating blaze!
A safety inspection done periodically is a good idea! Be sure all equipment is kept in good working order to prevent risk due to failing or outdated equipment.