Protect your horses and property from the risk of barn fires


Barn Fire SafetyBarn fires can strike nearly any horse facility, from small backyard stables to large, professional equestrian centers. The risk of a barn fire increases in winter when some facilities use space heaters, large stores of winter hay are kept indoors, and sub-freezing temperatures make controlling a blaze more difficult for firefighters.

Some of the most common causes of barn fires include problems with heating equipment, electrical problems, lightning strikes and arson. Other potential causes are careless smoking in the barn and spontaneous combustion of stored hay or straw that was improperly dried before baling. Some of these causes can be controlled by careful management, but accidents can happen at any facility. For this reason, farm owners are encouraged to have a fire safety plan in place in case the unthinkable occurs.

Equine Risk Management Group, LLC (ERMG) of Lexington, Ky. offers a free, downloadable checklist outlining fire safety measures that every horse owner and farm manager should know.

Among the fire safety suggestions offered by ERMG are: have an emergency list of nearby farms that can help evacuate horses; know your nearest fire departments and how to reliably reach them; communicate with your fire department and ask for their help in creating a fire safety plan and to avoid unnecessary risk factors at your farm; and have functional sprinklers, alarms and fire extinguishers in place.

While keeping horses outdoors at all times is one of the easiest solutions, it isn’t always practical. The checklist also provides advice for preparing an escape plan in case of a fire, including how to practice an evacuation in order to be prepared should a fire ever occur.

To download the fire safety checklist, visit ERMG’s website at


  1. According to fire research we have done – you have 5-7 minutes from the time flame is seen to get your animals out. YOU WILL NOT GET THEM OUT IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A PLAN. See the BLOG on THEHORSE.COM about emergencies… or the textbook “technical large animal emergency rescue” for more information.

  2. We just had a barn fire two weeks ago and lost 22 of our horses. It’s devistating!!! Worst thing to have happen! People don’t understand how attached you become to your horses and the bond you have with them! You know when you get a call that early in the morning something is wronge!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here