Keeping Your Horses Safe This Fire Season
Fire season is always an anxious time for horse owners and equestrian professionals around Australia because they know that there’s no such thing as a fireproof building, particularly in agricultural environments.
However, there are lots of things that you can do to prepare for the fire season and minimise the risk to your horses and stables.
- Prepare a fire survival plan. This is your number one weapon in the event of a fire and the more prepared you are, the better chance your horses and your property will survive a fire event. When it comes to horses and fires, there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution so it’s prudent to arrange a site inspection by your local fire department and get their suggestions for managing your environment and your horses.
- Minimise fuel sources and ignition sources. All stables contain combustible materials like hay (particularly oat hay), straw, bedding and other organic matter and you need to keep them as dry as possible to prevent spontaneous combustion. Feed should be stored in containers to keep it dry too.
- If possible, store primary quantities of hay and bedding in a well-ventilated area which is totally separate from the stables.
- Keep hazardous items like fuel, aerosols, paints, pesticides, compressed gases, oily rags and other flammable items away from the stables in a designated safe storage area.
- Do an audit of your ignition sources. These include heaters, exhaust systems of vehicles and of course, the electrical system. It’s a good idea to have your wiring checked regularly by a professional to make sure there are no loose connections or damaged wires from rodents etc which could spark. Extension cords shouldn’t be used on a permanent basis.
- Enforce a strict ‘no smoking’ policy in and around the stables.
- Remove shrubs, bushes and debris from around the stables, keep any grassy area around the stables and paddocks closely mown and trim any overhanging trees away from the roof. This can make a difference when trying to prevent the spread of a fire.
- Cobwebs are flammable so they need to be removed from in and around the stable area.
- You can install a smoke detector in your barn or stable, but remember that some models may produce false activations as a result of the airborne dust in the stables. Always get professional advice on the type and placement of smoke or heat detectors.
- Depending on your location and the prevalence of electric storms in your area, it may be an option to install a lightning detector to protect your buildings.
- Sprinkler systems aren’t cheap but may be an option depending on the scale of your equestrian complex. A professional company like Action Sheds Australia can custom-design and build your stables to include appropriate fire suppression systems and to minimise the risk to your animals and your property.
- Ensure your stables have enough fire extinguishers in prominent positions and which are easily accessible.
Whilst fire season can be an anxious time for horse owners, there are plenty of steps that you can take to minimise your risk and keep your horses as safe as possible.
For more information on custom-built stables in Perth, contact Action Sheds Australia on 1300 778 628. They have over 20 years’ experience as stable builders and although they can’t predict the weather, they can say with absolute certainty that their stables are built to the highest industry standards and are Shed Safe approved so you will get the best possible structure which suits your unique needs.